The Smithfield Town Council adopted the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget Tuesday night. The $15,198,658 spending plan is up about 3.1 percent over the current fiscal year.
The 57 cents property tax rate for $100 valuation will remain unchanged along with water rates. Sewer fees are expected to remain unchanged unless the County adjusts wastewater treatment costs, which would likely be passed along to Smithfield customers.
Town Manager Mike Scott said some electric rates would increase slightly while others would decrease. Scott said the rates are being adjusted to better meet the actual cost of service.
Monthly sanitation fees will increase from $16.24 to $17.24 and yard debris pickup will go up one dollar from $10 to $11.
All town employees will see a 2.5 percent salary increase on July 1st.
Several new positions are included, Scott said, to help meet additional demand for service brought on by growth. They include one new Utility Customer Service Specialist, one Information Technology (IT) Technician, two Sanitation Equipment Operators, one Water Plant Operator, one Water/Sewer Pump Station Mechanic; two Electric Linemen; 1-1/2 Garage Mechanics, and one new part-time fireman (6240 hours per year) to run first responder calls with EMS. Scott said the part-time fireman would use a fire department SUV to respond with EMS on medical first responder calls, reducing wear and tear on a fire engine and keeping the fire engine and crew available for fire calls.
The budget includes $181,050 for five new police cars; $189,300 to replace police in-car camera systems; $44,750 for a new fire department SUV; $234,275 for street resurfacing; $132,000 for a new tractor and side mower for the public works department; $65,000 for two pickups for parks and recreation; $13,900 to replace the pool deck drain at the Smithfield Recreation & Aquatics Center; $10,000 for interior work at the Sarah Yard Community Center; $250,000 for East Smithfield water line improvements; $400,000 towards the electric department voltage conversion; $300,000 for additional Nexgrid water meters; and $75,000 towards the purchase of a new bucket truck in 2022. An additional $75,000 was set aside for the bucket truck purchase the current 2020-21 budget, bringing the total to $150,000 earmarked.
Scott said the 2021-22 budget was easier to prepare than 2020-21 budget. “I actually felt this budget was a little easier than the current year’s budget. We were in such a state of unknown last spring (due to COVID) we were really scaling back and putting things on hold. Based on revenue projects, I feel pretty good about all of our revenue and expenses this year. It is always a trial to pick and choose which is the best thing for our citizens… there is never enough. I feel we did a good job matching council goals with funds available.”
Two people spoke during a public hearing on the budget. One citizen said the Town needs to budget funds to repave the Town Parking Lot on Market Street next to Simple Twist and repave the town hall parking lot. Another citizen said water and sewer distribution costs should be separated in the budget for better transparency.
The budget was adopted in a 4-0 vote by the town board.