Dayton To Tap Into Savings For Water Plant

Posted: April 4, 2014

DAYTON — An upgrade to the water-treatment plant and other expenses likely will result in the town pulling $195,000 from reserves to balance its fiscal 2015 budget.

Dayton Town Treasurer Justin Moyers said the town is looking to spend $160,000 for an upgrade of the treatment plant that will result in it operating more efficiently.

As of Feb. 28, the town had $2.6 million in reserves, Moyers said Thursday night after a Dayton Town Council budget meeting. He explained that the consensus of council members is to run a deficit because the water treatment plant expenses are a one-time occurrence.

Dayton also will take a $61,500 hit in its water and sewer fund, but town officials do not plan on passing along the expense in water and sewer rates, Moyers said. He explained that the fee percentage the town pays to the Harrisonburg Rockingham Regional Sewer Authority is increasing slightly.

Dayton receives 79 percent of its revenue from its water and sewer fund, Moyers said.

“We’re a town of 1,500, but we provide services similar to a town of 5,000 to 6,000 because of our water and sewer revenue,” he said.

A sizable portion of the revenue comes from Cargill, a poultry producer that operates within town limits.

The overall proposed budget of $4.5 million represents an increase of $42,613 over the current budget.

Vehicle License Tax Axed?

The council is proposing to eliminate its $30 a year vehicle license tax and replace that with a 3- or 4-cent increase in the real estate tax.

A 3-cent increase would be revenue neutral for the owner of a $200,000 home with two vehicles, Moyers said. In that case, a homeowner would pay $60 more per year in real estate tax but would also not have to pay the $60 vehicle license tax.

A 4-cent increase in the real estate tax would result in the homeowner paying $20 more a year overall.

Dayton is the only town in Rockingham County that doesn’t have a personal property tax, which may be levied on automobiles and various types of machinery and equipment.

Moyers explained the reasons for the proposed changes.

“It simplifies how they’re taxed,” he said. “It’s easier on residents. They have one less bill.”

In addition, Moyers said collecting real estate taxes is more efficient and easier for the town to enforce.

The town now sends Dayton vehicle owners a bill once a year. If they don’t pay, the town can put a hold on their account with the Department of Motor Vehicles, preventing them from renewing  their vehicle registration or conducting other business.

If a property owner doesn’t pay real estate taxes, the town can put a lien on the property.

Several new items for economic development are part of the proposed fiscal 2015 budget, which takes effect July 1, including:

$10,000 for downtown beautification grants and $15,000 for Va. 42 beautification.

Businesses would be able to tap the $10,000 for improvements

to their businesses as long as they come up with matching funds, Moyers said. The town has yet to decide how it will use the $15,000 for improvements along Va. 42, which is known as John Wayland Highway through most of Dayton.

The town also is setting aside $10,000 for events at the new College Street Pavilion. One example of a community event the town would like to host is movie nights, Moyers said.

Although it’s not included in the budget, town officials are considering upgrading its website.

Contact Caleb M. Soptelean at 574-6293 or csoptelean@dnronline.com



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