Town hears proposed budget
Weaverville – The council members of the Town of Weaverville heard the highlights of a $9.6 million dollar budget at Monday nights (May 21) regular monthly meeting and set a public hearing for the budget on June 4th. While the proposed budget does not raise the current property tax, other taxes and fees are set to increase. Read more...
The proposed general fund is $7.4 million dollars and includes a couple of new police cars, a new school resource officer for the elementary and primary schools, three new fire department personnel and more than a half a million for a new Lake Louise Community Center along with other additional spending. The fire department also asked that the county fire district tax be increased from .112 cents to .12 cents. The trend of Buncombe County fire departments this year has been to ask for an increase in that fire tax which will be reflected in a higher county property tax.
The water department budget is proposed at $2.2 million dollars and does seek a two percent increase in water rates, which is in addition to the new development fees that are set to go into place at the start of the new fiscal year. The council set a public hearing for the budget at 6 pm on June 4th.
In separate action the board voted to adopt a ServLine Leak Protection program for all Weaverville Water customers, both residential and commercial, which will start July 1st. The program covers water bills that are excessively high due to a leak and mainly covers leaks from the meter to the house or business. It will cost residential customers an extra $1.25 per month and commercial customers with a two inch meter between $3.45 and $6.90. Larger commercial meters will be charged more.
The protection is limited in the coverage in the types of leaks and covering up to a $1,000 water bill. The town also in adopting the protection plan will no longer discount high water bills due to a leak and the plan is only good once during a 12-month period. Customers not wishing to pay the additional cost can opt out, but they also run the risk of having to pay the entire water bill out of pocket. The town plans to conduct a extensive education campaign before the plan takes effect.
In other business, the council continued the updating of its personnel policy with two new sections -position classification and recruitment. A new pay plan section was not implemented after a discussion about what has been known as longevity pay came up. The once a year payment usually is given to employees around Christmas time and ranges from $100 to $600 depending on the employee’s time with the town.
Counciman Patrick Fitzsimmon said he believed that the money was best put to use in a merit based system. “I think it would be wise to take the money allocated for this, [and] give it to our department heads to actually reward our employees for good performance,” said Fitzsimmon. While Councilman Andrew Nagle agreed. Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey said the so-called “longevity pay”was actually being used more like a holiday bonus and merit pay was already being used in the towns pay raise reviews. It was therefore decided to table the pay plan section until this issue could be resolved. Nagle said the town spends about $24,000 annually on the longevity pay program.
The town also recognized several citizens and ROTC students from North Buncombe High School for their help with special events (like Memorial Day) at Lake Louise . The citizens were present plaques for their service to the citizens of the town and their efforts in helping with events. Under the consent agenda the council accepted the monthly tax report, approved a plat for major subdivision for 6 Garrison Road, scheduled a special meeting and public hearing for Weaverville Town Homes conditional zoning district application for June 18 at 6:45 pm which is before the next regular meeting. They also approved the purchase of new personnel protective equipment for the fire department in the amount of $44,000.
The council also recommended three amendments to the planning and zoning board including political signage, nonconforming uses, lots of record and structures and conditional zoning districts. The board also heard reports from the police and fire departments as well as public comment before dismissing to go into closed session and then adjournment.