Pinehurst Budget Includes Funds for Improvements
The proposed village of Pinehurst budget will keep the same tax rate and include money for new capital projects and a contribution to the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives.
The fiscal year (FY) 2012-2013 recommended budget, which begins July 1, is $17.2 million, or a 5.26 percent increase above the current spending plan.
Much of the increase is related to capital improvements the village wants to have done by 2014 when the area hosts the men's and women's U.S. Open Golf Championships.
Capital outlays of $3,019,500 are included in the recommended budget. This represents an increase of $844,800, or 39 percent over the previous year. The proposed budget also includes spending $1.35 million of the village's savings to complete capital projects downtown.
Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said the village's capital improvement plan is a "big driver of the budget" and made this year's budget process different from prior years.
"In my previous two years on council, capital projects have not been as time sensitive," Fiorillo said. "This year there has been a definite desire by council to get some things done prior to the Opens."
The tax rate in the proposed budget would remain 28 cents per $100 of valuation.
The General Fund budget maintains fund balance at 35 percent of FY 2012-2013 expenditures, which is well within the recommended range of 30 to 40 percent.
The Village Council received the budget Tuesday during its work session and then discussed the document for two hours Wednesday during the first of two scheduled budget meetings.
The council made only one significant change, bumping the budget line for marketing from $20,000 to $100,000, in anticipation of the U.S. Opens. The added funds will come from other areas of the budget.
The recommended budget includes $850,000 total for three projects that will improve the village downtown. Those projects include parking improvements to the sand parking lot ($350,000), streetscaping ($250,000) and Tufts Memorial Park ($250,000).
Village Manager Andy Wilkison said this year's budget process was more difficult than previous budgets due to the urgency to fund downtown improvement projects ahead of 2014.
"Fitting things together and meeting the needs on these initiatives was hard," Wilkison said. "We want them done before the Opens and we want them done well before the Opens so there is time to do the necessary landscaping so that things will look good down there."
Village Finance Director John Frye told the council Wednesday that the cost of the downtown improvement projects is subject to change.
Another $100,000 is set aside for brick sidewalks to promote pedestrian activity and $20,000 for a downtown restroom. The budget also includes $100,000 for enhancing gateway and way-finding signage, landscaping and lighting.
There is $500,000 set aside for a new firetruck and $125,000 set aside for drainage projects.
Another $252,000 is in the budget for the construction of Spur Road, which would serve the new brewery that is proposed to be located in the Old Steam Plant.
The budget includes $136,000 for construction of a new field house at Cannon Park.
The budget also sets aside $100,000 for the Given Memorial Library. The library board has requested the village donate $1 million to help fund its expansion. To do this, the village will open a Capital Reserve Fund in fiscal year (FY) 2013 and transfer $100,000 from the general fund to set aside funds for a contribution to the library in FY 2016. To reach the $1 million, the village will contribute $100,000 to the fund over the next four years and an additional $600,000 in the fifth year by deferring by a year money planned for the construction of a new Public Works building.
There are no funds in the proposed budget for greenway trails. Wilkison said that funding would likely return next year.
"We are taking a year off from funding the greenways, but we will continue to build them in the future."
For FY 2012-2013, the budgeted number of employees is one higher than in the previous year. Merit pay increases of up to 2 percent are provided for employees in the budget and current benefits are maintained.
A copy of the recommended budget is available on the village of Pinehurst website.
A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. June 12 at Village Hall. A budget must be approved on or before July 1.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or email@example.com.
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