TIMBERVILLE — Residents will see an increase in their water and sewer bills after Town Council adopted the proposed budget in a 5-1 vote.
The town’s proposed $2.37 million budget for fiscal year 2020, which starts July 1, increases Timberville’s water rate by 3% and sewer rate by 6%.
Councilman Bob Blosser voted against the budget, saying Friday that the appropriation of 100% of the general fund savings led him to oppose the budget.
“As proposed, the budget would fully deplete the general fund savings, leaving no reserves in the general fund for future general fund liabilities,” Blosser said. “Maintaining a reserve is critical for unplanned/emergency situations and is prudent financial planning for the town to support its growth.”
Blosser said Timberville uses fund accounting as a means to exercise a measure of control over revenue and expenditures and to ensure compliance with the town’s annually adopted budget.
The budget for fiscal year 2020 included proposed capital outlay expenditures for Timberville’s general fund and water and sewer fund.
The general fund included capital outlays of $195,700 and the water/sewer fund, $132,000 of capital outlays.
“From each of the town’s two funds, it will be necessary to withdraw savings to fully cover the proposed expenditures and capital outlays,” Blosser said.
Blosser said it was anticipated that approximately 10% of the current water/sewer savings account balance would be used to cover expenditures and capital outlays for the water/sewer fund.
“In order to cover the proposed expenditures and capital outlays for the general fund, it will be necessary to use 100% of the General Fund savings account,” Blosser said.
Blosser has served on the council for 25 years and as chairman of the finance committee for most of those years. Blosser said that the town, in his view, has a “solid financial base from which future growth in the town can be supported.”
“Maintaining sufficient reserves to support growth is an important consideration in developing a budget, especially with the need to plan for additional water and sewer capacity and delivery as the town expands into the growth area,” Blosser said. “Proper planning and budgeting helps to minimize the impact on fees and charges for services, and helps to make Timberville an attractive place for development and growth.”
The budget also included no tax increases for fiscal 2020.
“It is a pretty clean-cut budget,” Town Manager Austin Garber said in a previous interview with the Daily News-Record.
Residents who use a minimum of 5,000 gallons of water and sewer per month will see a higher bill starting July 1.
For water rates, minimum users will see an increase of 38 cents per month, or a 76 cent increase in their bill. An increase of $1.02, or $2.04 per bill, will be seen for sewer rates.
Residents are billed every other month for water and sewer.
Garber said the increase in water and sewer rates will generate an additional $26,000 to $27,000 in revenue.
Capital projects saw an increase of $137,700, or 237.4%, due to an allocation of $140,000 for park projects in the proposed budget.
The town has been developing a master plan for the town parks to identify park improvements after Town Council voted to close the Plains District Memorial Pool for the 2019 season.
With the pool’s closure, the town’s park expenditures decreased by $49,271.50.
The town also stopped recycling services, cutting back $21,500 that was adopted in the fiscal 2019 budget.
The real estate rate remains at 11.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.