Boonville passes new budget

By Kitsey Burns Harrison -

BOONVILLE — No speakers came forward at the June 14 public hearing for the town of Boonville’s 2018-19 fiscal year budget hearing, in fact no town residents were in attendance at the meeting.

The proposed budget, which passed with one objecting vote from board member William Paul Baity, does include a 1-cent property tax increase as well as an increase in the base rate for the water and sewer.

The proposed water and sewer rates will increase to $21 base rate for water inside town limits and $36.50 for outside, $21 for base sewer inside and $36.50 for outside, but the rates for per-1,000 volumetric usage after the base will decrease to $3.15 for inside water, $6.30 for outside water, $8.40 for inside sewer and $16.80 for outside sewer.

The proposed 2018-2019 fiscal year budget, with the 1-cent tax increase, will bring the rate to 49 cents per $100 valuation of property.

The increase of the rate for property taxes was proposed based on the closing of Parkdale Mills, Town Administrator Sarah Harris said in a statement prior to the public hearing. The anticipated loss of revenue was calculated on the value of equipment at $5,830,139 and was expected to net in a loss of nearly $27,984.66 in the General Fund.

Harris added that significant cuts were made throughout each department to offset this decrease in revenue.

“However, in order to continue providing the same level of service to our residents, there was a need for a minimal increase of 1 percent in property taxes. Tipping fees (trash) are being charged at the town’s actual cost to Waste Management and will remain at the same rate,” Harris said.

Part of the cuts in the proposed budget include eliminating one of the police officer positions for the town. The town previously operated with four full-time officers plus the police chief. With the departure of one of the full-time officers, the board decided to operate the department with three full-time officers and the police chief taking an active role in working shifts as needed, said Harris.

“This schedule will continue to provide the town of Boonville with 24/7 police coverage. Public safety and adequate police department protection has always, and continues to be, a high priority for the town of Boonville,” Harris said in an email on Monday.

During the meeting, Baity noted his objection to the budget in regard to the elimination of the police officer position.

Commissioner Devin Carter asked if the position could be reinstated at some point if needed.

Commissioner Bonnie Lasky said it could be revisited and the position could be reinstated by way of a budget amendment later in the year should the town see a need to do so.

Harris said the town is in the process of interviewing qualified candidates for the position of town police chief.

Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.

By Kitsey Burns Harrison