DOBSON — The town of Dobson passed the manager’s recommended budget with little fan fair and no comments from the public.
On Thursday evening the Dobson Board of Commissioners held a public hearing, as required by state statute, on Town Manager Josh Smith’s recommended budget. No changes were made, and nobody from the audience took the opportunity to interject his or her opinion.
The next fiscal year’s budget will be a six-percent increase over the current fiscal year’s budget. The budget, which takes effect on July 1, calls for $2.8 million in expenditures.
As previously reported, the new budget will fund an additional police cruiser — a Ford Explorer — for the town, and it includes funding for an additional town employee — a parks employee — who was hired at Smith’s request during the current budget year.
The budget also includes a three-percent cost of living wage increase for all town employees and a merit bonus of up to five percent for employees who perform well.
The budget includes no property tax increase and no increase to water fees. An increase to sewer fees of 50 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used is included in the budget.
Smith said the increase is needed to ensure the system not only operates in the black, but also plans for future needs. A generator for the wastewater treatment plant is included in the operating budget, a $60,000 cost the town “needed to incur” to ensure it doesn’t have massive environmental issues should the plant ever lose power.
Smith indicated while expenditures are growing with the costs of doing business, so, too, are the town’s revenues.
In a conversation regarding amendments to the 2015-16 fiscal year’s budget, Smith said the town’s sales tax revenues came in about $35,000 over what town staff had projected. Franchise taxes are also up in the town, a phenomenon which is “bucking the statewide trend.”
Smith noted debt service has also been steadily “rolling off” the town’s books.
A major change to the current fiscal year’s budget is the purchase of another vehicle for the town. Smith said the $23,000 cost of the Ford F-150 will be split between the water and recreation funds, as the town’s new employee works primarily at Dobson Square Park in the summer months and for the public works department in the winter months.
Smith noted the new employee has been using his own vehicle at work throughout the past few months he has been on the job. He didn’t file any travel reimbursement paperwork for the mileage associated with town business he incurred on his personal vehicle.
Commissioners unanimously approved the request and multiple other amendments to accurately reflect the town’s books in the current fiscal year’s budget.
Commissioners recessed the board’s meeting on Thursday and will reconvene on Wednesday at 6 p.m. to consider the approval of an interlocal agreement to assume the water system in the county’s Interstates Water and Sewer District.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.