Woodfin – In June, the Town of Woodfin readies to vote on an $8.041 million budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. That’s an increase of over $1.36 million or about 17% from the town’s current $6.680 million budget. The expansion is said will not affect property taxes. There is no planned increase from the 33 cents per $100 of property valuation that the town now collects from property owners. Woodfin staff officials gave the commissioners a preview of the budget at the town’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night (May 16th).
Where’s the money going?
The bulk of the additional spending will be going to sanitation ($334,500 expansion), stormwater ($328,465 expansion), streets ($348,512 expansion) and administration ($286,138 expansion). In addition, a Capital expenditure of over $401,000 is the largest expansion line item that will be spent at Silverline Park for a building and drain infrastructure.
There are also increases in nearly every department except for parks and recreation and the Powell Bill, which both see a decrease. Powell Bill moneys are funds from the state to help municipalities with street and road maintenance.
While the most significant increase appears in the police department’s budget, the town’s most significant line item, Woodfin Town Financial Director Sheri Powers told the Tribune that it is because of an accounting process that will allow the town to use ARPA funds for the department while using town funds elsewhere in the budget.
Where’s the money coming from?
If the town is not increases tax rates to provide the additional $1.36 million for the budget, where is it coming from?
The majority is coming from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). “What a blessing that was,” Financial Director Sheri Powers told the board during her presentation.
According to Powers’ numbers, several budget items would not have been possible without the ARPA funds. Such as converting to more modern rollout trash carts for garbage and recycling ($334,500); Silverline Park for a building and drain infrastructure ($401,600); salt storage facility and a townhall needs/feasibility study ($320,000); and stormwater administrator and infrastructure ($328,465).
Powers told the board that while the ARPA funds would help hire a stormwater administrator for the first year and contribute towards some of the infrastructures, significant investment and consideration for a stormwater utility fee. Otherwise dubbed by some as the “rain tax,” its anticipated next year in 2024. Other revenue increases are expected to come from sales and use taxes as well as ad valorem taxes.
A public hearing will be held on the FY2022-2023 fiscal budget commissioners’ meeting on June 21st at 6:30 pm. Anyone wishing to speak regarding the proposed budget will be allowed to do so at that time.
Other news from the meeting
The board also heard from Equinox, who had completed the 60% design development plan for the Riverside Park expansion. David Seikel presented the plan and answered questions about it. Commissioner Eric Edgerton had several in regards to the commercial use of an expanded trailer parking area. Seikel and David Tuch, also of Equinox, told Edgerton that the expanded space was in response to local non-commercial uses of the park, not to commercial users.
With no more questions, Tuch said if the board were pleased, they would be back when they reached 90% completion with the design.
Jane Anne Tager of the Woodfin ABC Board reported sales from last month were down 4.8% and that the store was still having supply chain issues restocking depleted inventory.
The board also held a public hearing on several amendments to the zoning and subdivision ordinance, at which no member of the public spoke. The amendments passed.
The town also retired its K-9 officer, Chef, after it was found that the canine had idiopathic epilepsy. This was learned on Wednesday, April 13. The canine was observed having a gran mal seizure while in his pen through a home video surveillance. He is being retired to a Pennsylvania-based agency “…that specializes in fostering and re-homing retired service dogs, including those with medical conditions.”