Last updated: June 10. 2014 3:52PM - 389 Views
By Emily M. Hobbs EHobbs@civitasmedia.com

Emily M. Hobbs/Sampson IndependentCommissioners Teresa Wilson and Alan Herring approve the minutes from the last town meetings in May.
Emily M. Hobbs/Sampson IndependentCommissioners Teresa Wilson and Alan Herring approve the minutes from the last town meetings in May.
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Newton Grove’s tax rate will remain the same, but the base water user fee will rise by 50 cent. Those are just two items in the 2014-15 proposed budget that was approved unanimously Monday night by the Newton Grove Board of Commissioners.

The town’s property tax will remain at 35 cent per $100 valuation, however rates and fees will see some increase, according to budget figures.

The commercial and school water and sewer rate will increase by 15 cent per 1,000 gallons. The user fee for all water and sewer will be increased by 50 cents, from $14 to $14.50, according to town clerk Amanda Turner. The base fee is for all water and sewer accounts regardless of the amount of usage.

The rate and fee increase is expected to generate around $6,500 in revenue for the next fiscal year. Those fees go into effect July 1.

Other budget items

Raises have been approved for the 2014-15 budget for the Police Department. The chief of police and the two full time officers will see a 4 percent bump in pay this year. Two years ago, the department had a 1 percent raise.

The salary increases are not going to impact the bottom line of the department since other areas are being reduced in the new budget. Telephone services will be less this year as well as insurance costs for both the town and employees. Repairs and maintenance for the police department will be less this year than last year due to a temporary increase in last year’s budget.

“We had lights replaced in the town hall,” said Turner in a telephone interview Tuesday. The one time project was split between departments.

And the town switched insurance carriers, explained Turner. “It will be $4,383 less than it was last year for the general liability and property insurance.”

Zoning administration fees will have also nearly doubled in two years, with the cost going from $5,500 two years ago to $11,600 for this year’s budget.

“The zoning administrative fee increase is based on the number of permits,” she added. Over the last year the town has seen an influx of zoning changes that have resulted in the need for more consultative resources being needed from the Rural Planning and Development office.

The town is planning some projects and adding to the budget this year in order to give the area a face lift. The library is going to get some much needed attention with $3,000 being budgeted to put in vinyl soffits. Another $5,000 has been budgeted for landscaping around the library for the removal and replacement of plants.

“The town board added $10,000 to the parks and recreation department,” Turner detailed. “The money is to help clean up the park and repair the water fountains that are broken. A tree fell on one of the swings and that needs to be either fixed or taken down. Plus the picnic tables need work. We also need some general maintenance like the removal of underbrush.”

“We also started a beautification committee,” she added. “The needed money budgeted to prepare for their beautification projects. It is brand new and just getting started.” The beautification committee is already working on planning out their projects.

Park work

before July 6 event

Commissioner Teresa Wilson and Turner went down to the town’s park after the last meeting in May and assessed what needs to be done down there to get it into shape.

“There is definitely a lot of work to be done,” said Wilson during the June 9 meeting. “There’s a lot of repairs. There’s picnic tables to be repaired. A lot of poison ivy. It’s just consumed with it.”

Someone will be spraying the poison before the July 6 event and the picnic tables are being repaired as well. The board also has hopes of repairing the water fountains as well as putting in some work on the walking trail. Gravel was put in a couple of years ago and there is grass coming up in the trail.

Fourth of July weekend the town will hold its celebrations on Sunday, July 6. There will be a bouncy house and slide, music, fireworks, T-shirts and the annual pageant. There will be a Tiny Little Miss and Little Miss Newton Grove.

The town has not finalized the day for their spring cleanup yet and Mayor Barbara Burch said that likely it will be moved to July.

Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd

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