Village Budget Outlined
The proposed budget for the village of Pinehurst keeps the present property tax rate but adds some positions to help meet the growing demand for services.
In an effort to keep up with maintenance needs, the Pinehurst Village Council is seeking to add two more full-time positions in the 2007-2008 budget.
The positions, one each in the buildings and grounds department and streets and maintenance department, are in addition to the one half-time and two full-time positions already in the budget. The total cost of adding the two new positions requested was estimated at less than $100,000.
The recommended positions in the budget are a half-time administrative assistant and a full-time streets and grounds maintenance worker along with a recreation program coordinator.
The request came after the council's review of the $15.5 million budget at a work session last week. The proposed budget is up 2.7 percent from the current year. The property tax rate would remain at 28 cents per $100 valuation. Revenues are expected to increase by about 3 percent.
Council members seemed pleased with the overall budget. The other two requests from council were to increase the funding for Animal Advocates from $2,000 to $4,000, and to look into possible funding for improved signage at key entry points to the village.
Councilman Jeff Dawson asked village staff to consider adding the positions because of the importance of the village's appearance and the complaints he said the council continues to receive.
"There is no reason why we can't keep it to better standards other than we're not staffing it appropriately," Dawson said.
Assistant Village Manager Jeff Batton told the council that the staff cutbacks years ago combined with the increasing workload and responsibility keeps maintenance employees from performing tasks on a scheduled basis.
Maintenance, he said, is done not on a regular basis, but rather as complaints come in.
In 1999, there were 16 employees in the streets and grounds department. Curr-ently, there are 13. Batton said those workers are broken into three crews, which handle grading, mowing and miscellaneous jobs. Currently, he said, each crew is a member shy of the optimum number.
"We need to get ourselves back up to that 16 level," Batton said.
This year's budget includes $430,000 for stormwater and drainage issues in the Pine Pitch and Pinehurst Trace areas, as well as other smaller projects.
Village Manager Andy Wilkison told the council that a focus on storm water and drainage issues within the village is having a positive effect.
"The number of complaints has diminished," Wilkison said.
The budget will maintain the village's fund balance at an estimated 30.6 percent, or well above the 25 percent required by the state and within the village's goal of between 27 and 33 percent.
The budget also included funding for an update to the Comprehensive Long-Range Plan, which was last updated in 2003.
The village has budgeted 133 full-time employees. Total employee salaries are up 10 percent from last year. That includes increases for 2.5 new positions, average merit pay raises of 4.5 percent and a 15 percent increase in group insurance premiums.
The council will hold a public meeting on the budget at 5:30 p.m. June 10 in the conference room of Village Hall.
Contact Tom Embrey at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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