Secretary budget revealed, public hearing on June 21

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Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
The Secretary marina renovation is 90 percent complete and the slips are no longer empty.

SECRETARY — Secretary Mayor Susan Dukes introduced the FY2017 budget at the June 7 commission meeting. A public hearing for residents to comment on the budget is slated for June 21, 7 pm.

There are four budgets: General Fund, Water and Sewer, Twin Cities Wastewater Treatment Plant (TCWWTP), and Highway Fund. General Fund expenses total $210,975 after Capital Projects of $7,000 and contingency funds of $68,000 are added to the $135,975 sub-total. In this balanced budget, real estate property taxes comprise the largest amount of revenue at $90,000. Local income taxes total $22,000 and dock rent at the newly-renovated marina brings in $8,400. The income sub-total is $135,975 and a $75,000 carryover brings total revenue to $210,975.

The biggest expense in the Water and Sewer budget is $66,881.04 for TCWTP sewer expenses. Sewer debt service totals $37,295. Total combined water/sewer revenue is $269,451 based on water revenue of $143,500 and sewer revenue of $125,951.

Secretary and East New Market comprise the Twin Cities treatment plant. Fixed costs are billed 50 percent to each town; non-fixed costs are based on flow and are billed 55 percent to Secretary and 45 percent to East New Market. Total Twin Cities revenue/expenses are $128,162.

The FY2017 Highway Fund’s state allotment and interest is $20,700. A carryover of $45,000 added to the allotment totals $65,700. Expenses include: Electric, $15,000; snow removal, $1,500; paving, $4,000, signs, $200; and contingency funds of $45,000.

The Secretary marina renovation is 90 percent complete and the slips are no longer empty. Commissioner William Lauk reported that the contractor is finishing up a few details and noted he “did a good job. It’s beautifully done.”

Mayor Susan Dukes said there is property around the marina that was torn up by heavy equipment during the renovation. It will be restored and re-seeded. She explained the town may have to pay some additional costs to finalize the project. A grant request to the Waterway Improvement Fund was approved for $50,000 effective with the July 1 start of the FY2017 budget. Any additional improvements must be pre-approved by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and, if approved, will be reimbursed from the grant funds.

Town-owned property on Hicksburg Road is for sale and the commission unanimously approved listing the property with Powell Realty.

At a prior meeting, Russell Paving received the go-ahead to pave sections of Wes Road based on a bid of $3,385. The commission asked for an additional estimate to include a section of Poplar Street. If done separately, it would cost $2,200 more; if done at the same time it would be $1,150 for a total project cost of $4,535. The package was unanimously approved.

A promising source of funds for the town’s planned Twin Cities wastewater treatment plant is the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The state-run, HUD sponsored program requires that “At least 51 percent of the activity’s beneficiaries must be low- and moderate-income.”

The 2010 census shows Secretary and East New Market, TCWWTP participants, are in the 40th percentile and must be in the 50th percentile to qualify. When Mayor Dukes asked the grantors to resurvey Secretary and East New Market residents the request was denied. She received permission from the agency and East New Market’s Heritage Park owner to survey residents of the park and hopefully change the percentage to the required 51 percent.

A recent mailing of the anonymous survey has garnered 23 responses from a total of 78. Mayor Dukes noted if the requisite amount is not received, “we will make phone calls asking for return surveys.”

On Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Cambridge Moose Lodge Michael William Larrimore Jr. will be inducted as an Eagle Scout with Boy Scout Troop 754 and receive a commendation from the town for his service with the Secretary Volunteer Fire Company. Ms. Dukes said, “Congratulations to Michael. That’s a lot of hard work and dedication and I commend him.”

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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