NEWTON GROVE — Town officials are set to approve budget plans which include a small increase for water and sewer rates.
The 2016-2017 budget for the town includes a plan to increase the rates 10 cents for every 1,000 gallons used. In recent years, user fees have increased, but not rates.
During a Monday meeting, Town Clerk Amanda Turner reported that it will generate $6,000 per year or $500 each month for the town. There was a consensus that it was a good idea to gradually increase the fees instead of having a major jump in the future. One of the points was to find a solution for deteriorating equipment and other needs in the town.
“If we don’t do anything, you end up having a 50 cents per gallon increase,” Turner said.
According to budget documents, most users will see an increase of less than $2. Outside user fees are expected to be the same amount. At 75,000 gallons, bills will increase around $15 and at 150,000 gallons, $30. There are less than 10 accounts that use more than 50,000 gallons each month.
The budget is ready for approval in late June and amounts are scheduled to be used from July 1 through June 30, 2017. So far, total expenditures are more than $935,000.
In the general fund, the largest expenditure is police operations at $245,000, followed by general government needs at $114,600. Some of the listed expenditures include salaries, maintenance and other professional services. The third biggest expense is the fire department at $40,000.
Town officials plan to use more than $417,000 for the water and sewer fund. Waterline maintenance is $141,300 and wastewater operations is $233,900. Administrative and general is $42,100.
To pay for needs, Newton Grove is expecting to get revenue from various taxes, fees and charges for water and sewer.
During the meeting, commissioners also reviewed a budget that included $15,000 for police equipment such as computers for vehicles and other technology; $30,000 for a building at the wastewater treatment plant; and $22,000 to replace a panel at the McDonald’s lift station.
A slight decrease for employees and board members were also discussed. Along with his colleagues, Mayor Gerald Darden said a one percent increase was discussed, but he believes it should be two percent.
“Everything costs more and more all the time,” Darden said in regards to the cost of living.
Commissioner Steve Jackson believes the mayoral leaders should receive an increase in monthly salaries.
“You put a lot of time into it and there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that people don’t know about,” Jackson said.
The meeting was recessed until 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 27. Changes and adjustments will be made to the budget at that time, before final approval.
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