By Nancy Lindsey
The Stuart Town Council will consider the town budget for 2016-2017 at the May 18 meeting, Mayor Ray Weiland said.
The council had scheduled a meeting April 20, but did not have a quorum present and conducted no business. Weiland and other town officials agreed to hold the regular meeting on Wednesday, April 27 (tonight) to pay monthly bills and discuss other business.
The proposed budget shows a 2% increase and a 3% across-the-board salary increase for employees, but does not call for a tax increase or utility hike, Weiland said.
“The budget looks pretty good,” Weiland said. “We’re basing the coming year on last year’s budget. We’ll come up 2% and still be able to provide a 3% raise without any changes.”
Town Attorney Chris Corbett said one thing could be added: a provision to address blight abatement in the town limits. “It’s on the council’s radar screen, and people with blighted property should take note,” he said.
The town budget is divided into four categories: the general fund, sanitation fund, water fund and sewer fund.
As usual, the general fund has higher revenues than anticipated expenses: $870,000 in revenues (up from $861,300 in the current year) and $401,000 in appropriations (up from $397,000 in 2015-2016).
General fund revenues include $250,000 in property taxes; $3,000 in prior year property taxes; $325,000 from the meals tax; $18,000 from the cigarette tax; $140,000 from the business tax (up from $135,000 this year); $80,000 from franchise fees (up from $74,000); $20,000 from auto decals; $800 from fire department gas reimbursement; $32,000 from state sales taxes; $500 in interest income, and $1,000 in miscellaneous income.
The sanitation fund shows $168,000 in revenues from garbage fees and $168,000 in expenses.
Revenues expected from sewer fees, water fees, and Public Service Authority (PSA) fees and interest income total $656,200, with sewer expenses estimated at $313,900 and water expenses at $342,300. The expenses for both sewer and water service total $656,200.
The town budget shows a fund balance of $$1,694,500 in both income and expenses, for an increase of $27,200, or 2%.