FRONT ROYAL — Councilmen recently reviewed a wish list for the upcoming budget year containing $4.7 million in potential expenditures for 50-plus items ranging from street repairs to salary increases.
Town Manager Joe Waltz explained that the town’s capital improvement plan has most of the items scheduled for purchase this year, but several of the expenses may be deferred to the future.
The list contains potential salary and staffing expenditures of $745,000, which includes a two-year compensation study ($140,000); a 3-percent salary increase ($343,000); a cost of living raise ($135,000); and a temporary legal assistant ($5,000).
The largest item on the list is the $800,000 needed for new chemicals for the wastewater treatment plant. Another major potential expense is $460,000 for the final phase of installing water meters on businesses and homes that can be read remotely. Waltz said that it is also a cost-saving measure because the town does not have to send someone to every house to read the meter.
Paving of primary and secondary roads would require $752,887, which would cover the paving of North Shenandoah Avenue from West 17th Street to West 14th Street, portions of Leach Street, Northview Street, Braxton Road, Wines Street and Evelyn Court.
Potential purchases for the police department include $50,000 for in-car cameras, $12,960 for body cameras and three 2017 Ford Explorers for $130,650.
Finance Director B.J. Wilson said that money is already built into the expenses that would be made using enterprise funds, which are the water, sewer, electric and garbage fund balances. Requests being made that would be funded by the general or street fund, however, he said will have to be closely examined and some of those will likely be deferred to future years.
The $4.7 million does not include funding for the new Front Royal Police Department building, as the town still has not selected a loan option to pay for the construction that is scheduled for a March completion.
Wilson explained that the town could choose either a 20-year loan with about $730,000 in annual payments or a 30-year loan with about $580,000 in annual payments, adding that any potential tax increase would be associated with the police department.
He said a 1-cent increase would generate $105,000 based on 2018 home values, but preliminary results from the recent reassessment indicate that may increase to about $135,000.
Another item not listed was money for pedestrian safety, which Councilman William Sealock said he would like to be incorporated to fund the installation of five new crosswalks.