ELIZABETHTOWN — As many local governments are tightening their belts, the town of Elizabethtown is no exception. The council members agreed on Monday to a series of proposed budget cuts to the 2008-09 budget totaling about $150,000.
Town Manager Eddie Madden recommended cutting the capital improvement budget for the police department from $85,000 to $30,000; the fire department CIP was reduced from $60,000 to $10,000; the finance department budget was reduced by $5,000; and the town has also eliminated $15,000 for performance incentives or bonuses.
“We’ll also be implementing a four-day work week in public works beginning Dec. 1,” said Madden.
The new public works schedule will require town employees to work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday. Madden expects the town to realize about $10,000 in savings from the change in work schedule.
“The reduction in the police department budget was specifically for replacement of vehicles and that will be postponed until a later date,” said Madden.
The budget cuts will not affect the ongoing VIPER communications project, which is a joint effort between the town and the county.
“We are participating with the county on the purchase of the VIPER radios,” said Madden, “The remaining funds in the police and fire budgets will cover the cost of VIPER.”
The town also reduced the amount of funding for the construction of a new ball field at Leinwand Park. Madden cut $20,000 from the funds budgeted for the project in 2007-08.
“We initially set aside $50,000 in the 2007-08 budget for Leinwand Park for an additional ball field,” said Madden. “We put the funds on hold thinking we would get a PARTF grant, but we were not successful in acquiring the PARTF grant.
“We are going to ask the ABC Commission if they can supplement the budget for Leinwand Park, but regardless, the park project will happen,” said Madden.
According to Madden, the cuts are recommended by the N.C. League of Municipalities in order for the town to adjust to lower revenues being received by the town from the state. The town’s anticipated Powell Bill money was cut by $16,000 for the current year and more cuts are expected. Powell Bill funds are monies used by towns and cities to pave, repair and maintain streets.
In other business, the council took up the issue of redesigning the sign in front of the Elizabethtown Municipal Building.
“The chamber would like to put a more permanent placard in place,” said Madden. “We are getting some renderings for a new sign for the municipal building that would allow room for the chamber to add their logo.”
Charles Mincey of MacTech of Wilmington is applying for a brown fields grant worth about $400,000 to perform a study to determine if Elizabethtown has any potential brown field sites, according to Madden.
The browns field program is supported through EPA and is to designed to clean up abandoned manufacturing facilities and other industrial sites that could have potential contaminants. The purpose is to clean up and convert those properties to new uses.
“If there are sites eligible, there could be funds available for the clean up,” said Madden.
The council took no action on a closed session item regarding a real estate purchase.