No tax increases in proposed town budget
Published 3:43 pm Monday, May 6, 2019
No tax increases are included in Town Manager Michael Stallings’ proposed $2.7 million fiscal year 2019-2020 budget for Windsor. Stallings released a draft of the budget to the Town Council and to town residents via the town’s website on Wednesday in accordance with the adopted budget calendar.
Included in the proposed budget is $1.84 million allocated to the town’s general fund, of which $801,510.48 will go toward salaries for town employees. The total salary cost for the town in all funds is just over $1 million.
Raises of just over $1,000 are planned for the town’s maintenance supervisor, police chief and police lieutenant, and a $3,000 raise is planned for Stallings. Raises of $1,000 or less are planned for the town treasurer, town clerk, office clerk, maintenance foreman and master police officer. The hiring of one additional full-time police officer in the latter half of 2018 accounts for the $47.791.41-increase in the police officer salary budget line item.
A total of $823,500 is planned for the town’s water fund. The town’s water rate is planned to stay at $7.50 per 1,000 gallons with a minimum bill of $26.25. Stallings added that the town’s water fund does not receive any financial assistance from the general fund, and in fact, contributes money to that fund for the portion of time Public Works employees spend working on the town’s water system and the cost of printing and mailing water bills.
The only major capital improvement project included in the proposed water fund budget for the coming fiscal year is the upgrade and replacement of the water mains on Duke Street and Virginia Avenue. This project, which is already in progress, is intended to provide sufficient water capacity for fire hydrants along Virginia Avenue, where there are none. This is projected to cost a total of $300,000.
Additional capital improvement expenditures budgeted for fiscal year 2019-2020 include $90,000 for debt payment related to the renovations of the Windsor Town Center completed last year, $35,000 for a new police car, $500 for streetlight extensions, $2,500 for information technology upgrades and $13,500 for Police Department technology.
In addition to the general and water funds, the town operates a “space needs” fund, which is supplied via general fund revenues, and is intended for the town to set aside funds for future facility and space needs. This is budgeted at $25,000 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
The town now also operates a separate fund for the Windsor Town Center. This is budgeted at $55,000 for fiscal year 2019-2020.
The months-long delay in the completion and delivery of the town’s fiscal year 2017-2018 audit, which was supposed to have been finished around November 2018, did not create any setbacks to the town’s budget schedule, according to Stallings.
Since 2015, the town has been in the process of converting its financial software to a program known as Munis. The town also changed auditing firms just this year, Stallings said. Both of these transitions played a role in the delays the town experienced in its audit, he explained.
“With the complexity of the financial system conversion, as well as new requirements/methods of our new auditors, we had multiple delays in our audit being completed,” Stallings said. “Delays with the financial system made us miss the regularly scheduled work window for the auditors. Once we corrected the issues with the financial system, we had to wait for the auditors to finish their other work to be able to come back to us.
“We have since worked out the financial system issues and should be back on track to have the audit completed on time next fiscal year.”
Stallings said the reason the town chose to convert its financial software was to be more compatible with Isle of Wight County, which also uses Munis. The Town of Smithfield, he said, also began converting its financial system to Munis in 2015.
The council plans to discuss its budget and capital improvement proposals for the coming fiscal year on Tuesday, May 14, hold the required public hearings on Tuesday, May 28, and take a final vote on the matter on June 11. The draft budget can be viewed at: https://www.windsor-va.gov/uploads/sites/62/docs/2019-20%20Budget%20Proposal.pdf.