STRASBURG – The Town Council on Tuesday agreed to delay a vote on the fiscal year 2020 budget.
The council had planned to adopt the budget, but approved a motion by Councilman John Massoud to table a vote in favor of more discussion.
The motion passed 6-1, with Councilwoman Barbara Plitt offering a dissenting vote. The board will meet to further discuss the budget at 7 p.m. Monday.
“There are still several questions surrounding the budget,” Mayor Rich Orndorff Jr. told council. Rather than take a premature vote, he said he was in favor of further discussion.
In a Wednesday phone call, Orndorff said any changes council members make to the budget proposal could mean re-advertising the budget and holding another public meeting. No one spoke at the previous public meeting, held April 29. The town is proposing a budget of $16,049,436.
“We are very much ahead of the game this budget cycle,” Orndorff said on Wednesday. “I mean, we have plenty of time.”
Normally town budgets aren’t adopted until June, he said, while also contending that waiting until the final weeks of a fiscal year can be risky since it might spark some last-minute decisions by the council.
Still, with more than six weeks left, he said, “This gives us quite a lot of time to discuss and work some kinks out.”
Councilman Ken Cherrix motioned to award up to $35,000 for an architectural contract to draft a design to implement the town’s master park plan.
The council voted 6-1 to award the architectural contract to Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects PC, of Alexandria. Kim Bishop was the lone dissenting vote.
“It concerns me that we’re going to put out up to $35,000 on a plan that may or may not be used,” she said. She also expressed concern that the town may not be able to include suggestions in the plan that it receives during public input sessions.
In other matters:
The council voted to approve a voluntary option giving town employees access to long-term health insurance through the Virginia Retirement System.
A motion made by Bishop was seconded by Councilwoman Taralyn Nicholson and accepted unanimously by all present board members.
Director of Finance Angela Fletcher announced that tax bills will be going out this week and that half-year personal property taxes are due June 5.
The town is discussing entering into an agreement with a landowner willing to lease to the town for no cost the vacant lot next to Strasburg Square that fronts King Street. The town will use that property – a narrow strip of land between the former Brown Building and CBM Mortgage property – as another access point for Strasburg Square, Orndorff explained. The town owns the rear of that property.
Town Clerk Amy Keller reminded those present that the town’s Mayfest is this week, with events ramping up for a weekend of entertainment in downtown Strasburg.
The town pool will be open nights and weekends this August, said Cherrix, who is on the Recreation, Parks and Trails Committee.
Last year, he said, the pool was closed in August because the county’s public school schedule hindered the availability of the lifeguard staff.
The town’s Visitors Center saw an influx of visitors in April, particularly local visitors.
Economic Development and Marketing Director Michelle Bixler said visitors to the center came from Virginia and 19 other states, as well as Australia, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Locally, she said, 36 people visited the center.
The town’s free Sunday wellness series continues this Sunday with senior fitness at 10 a.m. and Alzheimer’s education at 11 a.m.
Attending the meeting were Orndorff and council members Bishop, Cherrix, Massoud, Nicholson, Plitt, and Emily Reynolds and Jocelyn Vena. Vice Mayor Scott Terndrup was absent.
The Town Council will hold its next work session at 7 p.m. Monday and its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. June 11. To read more about the Master Parks Plan, visit https://www.strasburgva.com/parksrec/page/master-parks-plan-rfp-tosedm-2019-1.