Last updated: April 29. 2014 1:48PM - 370 Views
By - erinsmith@civitasmedia.com

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ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Town Council got a sneak preview of the proposed 2014-15 budget from Town Manager Eddie Madden this week, and the news wasn't all good.
Madden said the budget does carry a 2 percent increase in water and sewer fees and the board will also be implementing a curbside recycling program. The cost is $3.10 per recycling cart per monthly per customer which includes both residential and commercial users, said Madden.
Madden said the proposed budget also carries an increase in the leaf and limb debris fees. In the past the fee has been $4, but Madden said the actual cost to the town is $5.75 for the service. He said the board agreed to increase the fee to cover the town's expense for providing the service.
There are some bright spots, though, in the proposed budget message.
“There is no tax increase,” said Madden.
The board is planning to hold the ad valorem tax rate steady at the current rate of $0.615 per $100 valuation.
Madden said the proposed budget will include a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for employees.
“We are proposing a 2 percent cost of living adjustment based information we received a few weeks ago regarding inflation being at or about 1.1 percent,” said Madden.
He added that while the budget news isn't all bad, there are some variables that could still impact the town's budget prior to it being finalized and adopted in June.
“There are some things in our budget that are in jeopardy, particularly on the revenue side,” said Madden. “One is the privilege licenses.”
Madden said the issue of privilege licenses is slated to go before the General Assembly in the short session and likely will be eliminated. Madden said if privilege licenses are eliminated, the impact to the budget would be about $32,000.
“The board has made it very clear, they will not raise taxes,” said Madden.
Instead, he said the cost would be absorbed by reducing expenditures.
He said another item the town is waiting to see figures on is insurance.
“We anticipated an increase (in the rates), but we don't know if it's enough,” said Madden. “If the rates come in higher (than staff estimates) it could necessitate more cuts.”

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