Council OKs $2.57M budget
The Corporation of Shepherdstown Town Council has passed a $2.57 million annual general fund budget for the upcoming 2010-11 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The budget has been submitted to the State Auditor and was approved by the Council at its regular March meeting at Town Hall, 104 N. King St.
“We have been accumulating video lottery cash reserves for capital projects,” said Accounting Clerk Pat Dowell. About $1 million of this is budgeted for the proposed new Town Hall. About $100,000 has spent to date for legal, engineering and architect fees, leaving a balance of about $900,000.
About $260,000 of the town’s video lottery revenue – proceeds from Charles Town Races & Slots gaming funds – will be used for operating expenses, rather than for desired capital items. The city is researching an alternative health insurance that does not have the post-employment under-funding problem that the Public Employee Insurance Agency has.
Dowell reports the general fund annual cost budgeted in 2010-11 for the post-employment “catch-up” premium is about $132,000. An insurance plan without the funding problem could eliminate this added expense, she said. This would improve the budget and free up more video lottery funds for capital needs.
The overall town budget is down $215,000 from the $2.79 million, current 2009-10 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
The lower budget number is primarily reflected in $187,000 less cash (mostly video lottery capital cash used in 2009-10) and $28,000 less from Police Department revenue.
The property tax rate this year is higher, but the overall value of real estate is lower, Dowell said. The tax rate can be raised only 1 percent plus the county assessor’s fee rate in the current “reduced levy” status, she added. The weighted assessed value is actually lower than last year. The total projected annual gross revenue increase for the coming fiscal year is only $4,000.
Seventy percent of the town’s real estate tax revenue comes from commercial property, while just 30 percent is generated from residential property.