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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Smyrna Council to discuss budget in special meeting

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  • A Special Smyrna Town Council meeting has been scheduled for Monday, Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at Town Hall.
    Smyrna Town Hall is located at 27 S. Market St. Plaza.
    Council will discuss, consider and possibly vote on the Fiscal Year 2013 Capital Budget and the Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget.
    The Smyrna Finance Committee is still working on finalizing the proposed budget. They met again Wednesday and walked away with a possibility of no property tax increase for residents. This year's $22 million budget included a tax increase of 3.74-cents per $100 of assessed value, which put the tax rate at 29 cents, up from 25.26 cents. Smyrna is tied with Seaford for lowest tax rate among full service towns in Delaware.
    Preliminary 2013 budget
    While the numbers in the 2013 budget aren't finalized, there are several positions and projects that have been added into the budget to help move the town forward.
    The Capital Budget is a five-year plan for projects in town including the project cost and funding mechanism. The projects expected to start in 2013 are the police station expansion, utilities north of Duck Creek, utility upgrades to Commerce Street, an electrical upgrade to Green Meadows and street work to Glenwood.
    Most of the projects including Glenwood, Duck Creek and Commerce Street have funding as does the police station project; the town will pay about $46,000 in debt service for the police station project, Mayor Pat Stombaugh said. The Finance Committee is hoping to pay for the Green Meadows electrical upgrade and $50,000 other town utility upgrades by taking out $200,000 from the Rainy Day Fund. The committee believes the projects can be paid for through the Rainy Day Fund as the upgrades are needed to provide a better service to the residents. Moreover, Stombaugh said the Green Meadows area has never had an electrical upgrade.
    The committee has also included heavy equipment - three trucks and a backhoe - in the budget. Stombaugh said the equipments cost about $519,000, but the committee is hoping to pay for it through a capital reserve fund.
    As far as positions, the committee has included three new full-times positions and three new part-time positions. The full-time positions are for an assistant to the town manager, a warehouse clerk, and a municipal worker to be used for the in-house grass cutting. The part-time positions are for one part-time library clerk (a second part-time library clerk position also needs to be filled), and two public works employees to help with the grass cutting and whatever else they're needed for.
    If Smyrna Town Council eventually approves the budget, including use of the Rainy Day Fund and use of the capital reserve fund, Stombaugh said the budget will be balanced without the need of a tax increase.
    Page 2 of 2 - Stombaugh attributed the strength of the preliminary budget to the hard work of the committee and staff, as well as the cuts and sacrifices that have been made over the last five or so years.
    "I'm really pleased with the committee and staff," Stombaugh said. "We're not over the hump, but if we still stay conservative, watch what we're doing. This is the first year we've had extra money to get equipment, extra help. Everybody's sharing the hurt. All the sacrifices over the last five years have paid off."
    WHAT'S NEXT? The Finance Committee will meet again Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. to continue work on the capital budget and operating budget. Then the budget will go to Smyrna Council in a special council meeting Monday, Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m.
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