With so many localities struggling to make ends meet as they prepare for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, Hillsville seems to be doing just fine.
In presenting the upcoming budget, Town Manager Larry South pointed out that there are no new fee or tax increases planned for citizens within town limits. Additionally, if this budget is approved, proposed water and sewer rate increases will be tabled for another year.
“It is a pleasure to present a proposed budget with no fee or tax increases,” South wrote in his budget message. “This proposal also recommends that the second proposed water and sewer rate increase presented in last year’s budget be delayed until the next fiscal year when it will be reviewed again. Our fund balances in those funds should cover our shortages in the short term. Each of us, I hop, understand how important it is that we take as little as possible from our businesses and citizens so that they may use their resources to continue to grow, hold their own, or in some cases, just survive. Certainly, given the cost of fuel, food, labor, supplies and medical expenses, it is difficult at home and at the business area.”
Hillsville enters the budget season with a fund balance of $532,869. By using $166,920 in fund balance to help cover the water and sewer rate shortfall, the town projects a June 30, 2013 fund balance of $365,949, which is 12.5 percent of the proposed General Fund expenditures. South wrote that the figure falls in acceptable levels of fund balance.
One area in which figures are adjusted to reflect a change in Richmond policy relates to the VRS retirement plan.
“The General Assembly has thrown us a curve,” South wrote. “It appears that the town can no longer pay the 5 percent employee portion of our employees’ retirement contribution. The employee must pay it; therefore, we have added a 5 percent salary increase to cover this and reduced the town’s contribution in a like amount. This will, however, increase both taxes for the employee and payroll taxes for the town, since it is now shown as salary, a curious move by our folks in Richmond.”
In addition to the 5 percent increase to cover VRS costs, town employees will also receive a one-step cost of living pay increase. Other inclusions fund an additional police officer and the completion of the E. Grayson Street sidewalk project.
The proposed General Fund budget for the Town of Hillsville calls for $2,941,429 in revenues, down from the 2011-2012 figure of $3,092,583.
The 2012-2013 water operating fund budget is a projected $1,325,788, which is slightly down from the 2011-2012 total of $1,339,463. The recommended sewer fund is $1,160,521, which is down from $1,317,506 currently.