Mon09012014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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Budget approved with proposed water increase

The 2012-13 fiscal year budget, including a 13% increase in the utility fund, was approved at the Colonial Beach Town Council meeting on Thursday. Extra revenue from a proposed $30 raise per quarter in water fees, resulting in a figure of $2,833,896 is expected. 

Although the budget has been approved by council, the proposed raise still needs to be advertised and a public hearing held on the issue before the council can approve it. 

The raise is needed because Colonial Beach is seeking funding for two major water and sewer infrastructural capital improvement projects. In order to receive funding from other sources, the town must show that the utility fund can not only sustain itself on fees collected but can show an increase in revenue that will pay for loans awarded. 

The budget also shows a 94% increase in Utilities Capital Projects (money to be spent for upgrades) which include funding from USDA Rural Development in the form of a loan and a grant. Both are directed at sewer upgrades specifically to address inflow and infiltration (I & I). Total budgeted money for Utilities Capital Projects is $3,314,546.

I & I refers to the amount of rain and other run off water that enters the sewer system through cracks, breaks or rain water drainage leading into the system, that does not require filtration. I & I causes more water to be filtered and thus raises costs of operation of the waste-water treatment plant. 

The town’s contribution to the school in 2013 dropped by 7% but schools will still be level funded at a figure of $1,758,496. This past year the school received an extra $62,978 to fund the new middle school mod pod. 

The town’s general fund, which covers government expenses not included in the school or utility funds, will jump 29% totaling $4,556,372.

The revenue side of the budget for the general fund is up by over a million dollars. 

Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Mike Ham explained in a previous meeting that a large chunk of that will be what he calls a wash meaning revenues (income) will match the expenses (spending). 

Colonial Beach received a transportation grant this year for the Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) program, to improve sidewalks and roadway markings to make it safer for children to walk to school. The grant allows up to $482,053 for these improvements but it must be funded by the town up front and only what is used will be reimbursed by the VDOT. 

Colonial Beach will take over the roads on June 1, which entitles the town to up to $525,330 in funding from VDOT for road maintenance and repairs. Like the SRTS, the town must provide these funds up front and will only be reimbursed what they use. 

Together these two funds total $1,007,383 making up a large portion of the additional revenue over last year’s budget. 

Colonial Beach will take over the maintenance of all the roads except for Colonial Ave. and its entrance at VA Rt. 205. Although Colonial Beach is only a few miles long there are roughly 26 miles of roads within the corporate limits. 

VDOT will still provide funding for the maintenance of paved roads, but in the case of paving new roads, the road must be first adopted into the highway system by VDOT, then will be paved by the town and funded by VDOT if it is a secondary road.

 

Linda Farneth

 

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