Secretary passes budget with no tax increase

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SECRETARY — Secretary Commissioners passed the FY2016 budget at the May 26 town meeting with no increase in taxes. Budget projections are complicated even for a small town. The numbers never reach much more than a quarter of a million dollars unlike a big city or county with multi-million dollar figures but there are four individual budgets, including: The General Fund, Water and Sewer, Twin Cities Treatment Plant, and Highway Fund.
Total expenses for the General Fund decreased $14,030 to keep pace with decreased revenue estimates. On the revenue side, property taxes show a decrease of $10,000; Business Corporation taxes decrease by $6,500; delinquent tax interest, down $500; personal property taxes down $300. Public Utility taxes increase $200; Franchise taxes increase $1,500; county appropriations up by $100; interest increases $50.  Total revenue is $132,915.  Adding a $75,000 carryover, total income is projected at $207,915, down by $2,450 over the last fiscal year. The Contingency Fund increased by $11,580.
The town’s Water and Sewer Budget for FY2016 estimates water expenditures of $106,231 and sewer expenditures of $110,997. When capital projects of $10,000, an increase of $8,109, plus contingency funds of $17,584 are included, total expenditures are $244,812 for a decrease of $35,188 over FY2015.
The Twin Cities Wastewater Treatment Plant continues to limp along in anticipation of a replacement in the next few years. Costs for the facility are shared: Secretary is responsible for 55% of flow expenses including electric, repair/replacement, and chemicals; and, East New Market bears 45 percent. The FY2016 budget estimates increases of $720 for Secretary and $4,680 for its partner with a total increase of $5,400 over FY2015. Fixed costs estimates are $32,682 with contingency funds of $2060. Total fixed costs of $119,885 are shared 50/50 between the towns.
The difference between last year’s Highway Fund budget and the latest one amounts to about $9,000. In FY2015 the state allotment was $14,500; In FY2016 it is $5,510. The carryover in both years was the same –$45,000. Expenses differed in two areas: Paving for FY2016 is $1,000 and amounted to $5,000 in FY2015; and, the contingency fund is $5,000 less than the previous year.
The budget was unanimously approved by Mayor Susan Dukes and Commissioners Henry Short, Jennifer Rebert, William Lauk, and Thomas Shimek.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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