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Windsor proposing $1.784M budget

WINDSOR

The Town of Windsor is proposing an operating budget of $1.784 million for fiscal year 2018-2019. A draft of the budget was presented to the Town Council on Tuesday during a work session.

According to a memorandum from Town Manager Michael Stallings to the members of council, only two local taxes have proposed increases for the coming fiscal year. Stallings has recommended increasing the town’s cigarette tax from its current rate of 25 cents per pack to 30 cents per pack and increasing the town’s meals tax from its current rate of 5 percent to 6 percent. The increase in the town’s cigarette tax is anticipated to bring in an additional $10,000 per year and the meals tax increase, an additional $40,000 per year.

Stallings said he recommended the two tax increases to balance out a decrease in the town’s bank franchise tax due to the sale of Citizen’s National Bank and the ever-increasing cost of providing services to town residents.

Stallings has also proposed increasing the town’s water rate by 25 cents per 1,000 gallons, taking the town’s rate from $7.25 per 1,000 gallons to $7.50 per 1,000. This would result in a new minimum water bill of $26.25 and generate approximately $20,000 in additional revenue for the water fund. The increase, Stallings said, would allow the town to put a maintenance contract in place on its two existing wells for consistent, routine maintenance.

“It’s not a significant increase,” Stallings said. “We don’t charge any fees above and beyond our water rates.

“Most localities around us have fees on their water bills outside of their water rates. Some have meter reading fees, debt service fees or others. Ours is just water consumption.”

Stallings also recommended increasing the town’s after-hours water cut-on fee from $30 to $75, making the town’s rate more in line with Isle of Wight County’s. This rate would apply for residents who call after 4 p.m. to request their water be turned back on after resolving a cut-off due to nonpayment of a water bill.

The water fund budget for the coming fiscal year also includes $300,000 for a new water main on Duke Street and Virginia Avenue. This new main will replace the existing main, which Stallings said has been having some maintenance issues.

The town also plans to increase the size of the main so it can install fire hydrants on Virginia Avenue. Stallings anticipates that $150,000 of the funding for this project will come from the state and the remaining $150,000 will come from the water fund balance.

New expenses include salary increases for all town employees except for those appointed by council. The proposed increase is 2.5 percent or $1,000, whichever is higher. Police Chief Dan Riddle, however, will receive an increase of 5 percent in recognition of his recently completing his associate degree in criminal justice. There is also now a separate fund for the Windsor Town Center, which as of April 1 of the current fiscal year, contained $985,000.

The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on May 22 and is scheduled to vote on the budget on June 12.

In other business, the council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of a parcel of land located on the opposite side of Route 460 from the Windsor Food Lion. The land, formerly zoned as A1 agriculture is now zoned B1 commercial and is the site of a proposed shopping center. They also approved unanimously the rezoning of two parcels at the corner of South Court Street and East Griffin Street from B1 commercial to R1 residential, where a single-family modular home is to be constructed.