Petersburg setting annual spending plan

Friday, July 27, 2012

From staff reports

PETERSBURG - The town's Board of Mayor and Aldermen here has approved its next annual budget on the first of three required successful votes for adoption of the spending ordinance.

The total of all available funds - that includes a fund balance, or money unspent this year, and projected revenues - is $903,697.57, Town Recorder Angie Taylor reports. If adopted as planned next month, town treasury reserves will be $285,517.57, which is 31.6 percent of the available money.

"We've done better with that," Taylor said when asked about a significant part of the budget: collecting water bills.

Significant parts of the town budget include the water service, police, general government spending such as administration, state street aid revenue, and trash collection fees.

One reason for additional reserves is that Mayor James Owen, a criminal investigator with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, continues to serve as interim police chief.

"He does it at no charge so we're saving there," Taylor said.

"This isn't set in stone," Taylor said. "We can make changes."

And the town's property tax rates are probably going to stay the same, Taylor said, acknowledging that's complicated because part of the town is in Lincoln County and the other part is in Marshall County, where the assessor's office has reported results of reappraisal.

The mathematical average of the two rates is approximately 95-1/4 cents per $100 of assessed value. By keeping the current rate for the Marshall County side of the town, property owners there might see a reduction in their property tax bills.

With auditors at Town Hall on Thursday, Taylor said specifics of the rate will be better known in time for the town board meeting on Aug. 13 when the budget is to be approved on the second of three votes. The third and final vote on the budget and tax rate will be later in August on a date that's yet to be determined.

"This is my first budget," said Taylor who's worked at Town Hall for about a year. "I've been over it and over it, and I've gone back over the figures."

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen met Monday night. The panel also considered work being done on city property.

"The city owns the post office and it's being painted inside and out," Taylor said. "We're going to be updating some of our other city buildings" in conjunction with a program from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department.

"We have a group of workers from the Lincoln County Jail and they're painting it three shades of tan," she said.