Aberdeen approves budget for upcoming fiscal year

Council passes handful of budget amendments for needed maintenance

ABERDEEN — The Town of Aberdeen Council met Monday, May 23 where the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23 was presented and approved.

The proposed budget has a total operating budget of $17,048,910 and will see an increased tax rate of $1 for residential and commercial garbage collection rates and a 3% higher volume rate for water and sewer. 

However, due to Aberdeen’s steady growth – property valuations in Aberdeen rose approximately 7% – the property tax rate and base rate for water and sewer will remain the same. 

“We have a great town,” said Mayor Robert Farrell. “It’s growing and this budget reflects the growth that we’re experiencing. We’re having to pay for more things and repair more things, keep more things going, hire more people and that’s a sign that the town is growing. We need to keep ahead of that and as long as we can do that without raising taxes, and that’s not something we can always avoid, but right now we aren’t raising taxes.”

Major capital items included in the 2022-23 budget include the purchase of three new police vehicles, the completion of Phase 4 of the AMR installation for $350,000, standard vehicle and equipment replacements for $70,000, fire bay floor and vehicle improvements for $96,000, street improvements through the Powell Bill for $400,000, shelter and park facility improvements for $130,000, downtown parking and sidewalk improvements for $209,000, water production projects for $381,000 and the purchase of a dump truck and mini excavator for $138,000. 

“The items that have been requested are not frivolous,” Mayor Farrell said. “They are things that we need. Each department has made a request for certain items and as long as we can pay for them, they go to the department that needs them and that can enhance the ability for them to do their jobs. That’s what we are up here to do.”

The council also authorized Finance Director, Butch Watson to act as the signee for a $29,259.36 financing with First Bank for the purchase of a Ford Ranger pickup for the Planning Department.

“We’ll make semi-annual payments of six months from the date that we close, which will technically be tomorrow,” Watson said. “Then that will be paid off in a three year period. Our rate right now is 1.80%.” 

The council was then presented with four budget amendment items, all of which were approved.

The first budget amendment was for an amount up to $2,000 from Recreation Station-Utilities to Recreation Station-Supplies/Maintenance for the repainting of rental areas at the Recreation Center.

“Brown Painting will come in and do the painting,” said Parks and Rec Director, Adam Crocker. “We’re going to paint rooms 104, 107, 126, the main reception area of the hallway and both bathrooms in the building. All the rental areas. So we just took a little from utilities. Obviously we’ve had some offices empty this year so utilities is running a little low, so we borrowed a little money from them. But it was well needed.” 

The second amendment was for an amount up to $6,700 from Parks and Recreation Park Facilities-Grounds Maintenance to Parks and Recreation Park Facilities-Capital Outlay for the repaving of the main parking lot at Colonial Heights. 

“Hudson Paving is going to do the paving project,” Crocker said. “They came to us, gave us this price for sealing and realigning the main parking lot that is already there. That already needed to be done and it’s going to be exacerbated by the fact that we’ll have fresh new pavement and lines in our new portions and are very old, worn, hard to see lines in the old portion.” 

The third amendment was for a total up to $15,200 from Powell Bill Street Resurfacing to Powell Bill Engineering for an assessment report.

“This particular request is basically to use the money from the Powell Bill Street Resurfacing program since we didn’t use any money for resurfacing this year and use that budget amendment to move it over to Powell Bill Engineering so we can do an assessment report to provide the council and public works a tool to see which streets are the most in need of improvements,” Watson said.

The fourth and final amendment was the reallocation of $14,000 from the general fund to the Sewer and Water fund.

“They had to do an emergency repair on Well #18,” Watson said. “It included the cost for replacement of the pump, motor, pipe, wires, valve, discharge head and all that sort of stuff in the well house, as well as the labor. All that was last done originally 22 years ago.”

Finally, the council accepted a surety for the proposed Aberdeen Place for the installation of roads, sewer, sidewalks and landscaping in the amount of $366,607.

The Town of Aberdeen Council will next meet June 27.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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