Elizabethtown approves $6.5 million budget

By: By Chrysta Carroll

ELIZABETHTOWN — At its June 5 meeting, the Elizabethtown Town Council approved a budget of $6,540,248 — a nearly $500,000 increase over last year — without raising taxes.

“The staff have worked diligently to prepare a budget we think will serve the town well,” Town Manager Eddie Madden told the Town Council.

Elizabethtown’s budget is divided into two broad categories: general fund and utility fund, each with revenue and expenditures.

— General Fund revenue

Revenues for the general fund remain roughly the same at $4,936,648.

— General Fund expenditures

From the general fund, the town has budgeted $4,936,648, a $500,000 increase over last year.

The governing body will not see a salary increase, but will remain at $20,145. With all other benefits, the budget for the board will be $36,104, a slight decrease over last year.

Elizabethtown’s administration budget is $626,067, a $54,000 increase from last year. Salaries increased from $227,993 to $288,913, FICA and retirement will each see $8,000 increases, and hospitalization will increase from $14,520 to $24,960. Travel will see a 33 percent increase to $13,000. At least some of the $54,000 increase is attributable to the addition of a full-time recreation planner/landscape architect. The administration budget also increased $20,000 to cover the contracted cleaning of Town Hall and the contract with Holland Consultants on the zoning ordinance rewrite. The debt service for administration, however, will be reduced from $96,515 last year to $20,000 this year after the Farmer’s Market was transferred to the Facilities Budget, and the Downtown Revitalization Project and the downtown parking lot were transferred to Public Services.

The Finance Department’s budget will increase $36,000 over last year, to $323,049 this year. The increase is due, in part, to an $8,000 increase in salaries, a $6,000 increase in hospitalization, a $5,000 increase in IT.

Public Services has been budgeted $23,000 more than last year’s $277,751 allowance. Although fringe benefits have decreased $9,000, salaries have gone up from $142,163 to $148,120. Capital outlay decreased from $42,000 to $20,000 and a $54,396 debt service was transferred from administration.

Public facilities will see the largest decrease in the budget, at $45,000, which brings this year’s budget to $91,675. The reduction is attributable to a $50,000 reduction in capital expenditures. The budget includes $15,000 to refinish the floor at the Farmer’s Market.

For the Police Department, a 4.8 percent reduction is proposed, bringing its budget to $1.3 million. The department will spend $32,000 less on salaries after the retirement of several long-time officers and the utilization of comp time instead of overtime; debt service decreased $23,000 since the department no longer purchases new police cars; and the department will spend $14,000 less on fuel.

The fire department will decrease its budget by 1.1 percent to $633,151. Most expenditures will remain relatively the same. Thanks to a SAFER grant, the fire department will be adding five positions, at a cost of $264,636.

The biggest increase will be realized by the street department, the budget for which will increase from $459,673 last year to $556,841 this year. Salaries and wages will fall 12.9 percent to $150,356. FICA and retirement will also see decreases. The department will spend $14,000 less on fuel and has eliminated the $3,300 provision for mosquito spray chemicals. It will, however, be purchasing a grapple truck to aid in leaf and limb collection, at a cost of $145,700.

The recreation department’s budget was more than tripled, going from $25,500 to $84,054. The increase includes the addition of a recreation planner/landscape architect at a cost of $27,461 plus benefits.

Special appropriations will continue to be made at the same rate — $40,000 for the airport; $7,000 for the Chamber of Commerce; $2,000 to Dixie Youth Baseball; and $1,000 to the White Lake Water Festival.

— Water Fund revenue

Revenue for the water fund will is expected to decrease from $1.69 million to $1.60 million

To make the budget, water rates will see an increase of two percent in order to keep pace with inflation, but sewer rates will remain the same. The town expects Waste Industries to impose a two percent increase in monthly billing as well.

— Water Fund expenditures

Although the water department’s budget will remain relatively unchanged in the end, the department will see a 25.9 percent reduction in salaries, bringing the cost to $135,653. Overtime will be cut 75 percent, bring its costs down to $1,878. Fringe benefits, FICA, retirement, and hospitalization will be decreased. Capital outlay will increase from $104,500 to $164,000.

On the sewer side, budget expenditures will increase from $754,540 to $821,734. The budget includes $75,000 for the Locks Road lift station, $85,000 to rework the chlorine chambers at the wastewater treatment plant, and $75,000 for a Glenwood Drive lift station rehab.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.



By Chrysta Carroll