Kenbridge to hold hearing on budget

Published 8:29 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kenbridge has scheduled a public hearing for on Monday, June 13, on its 2016-17 proposed budget.

The public hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

The budget does not call for a tax increase.

The proposed budget estimates $997,674.33 in general fund revenues and expenditures.

Vice Mayor Ken Blackburn said highlights of the proposed budget include money for a rainy-day fund, a modest salary increase for the town’s employees and money to tear down blighted properties.

The issue of blighted, abandoned properties continues to vex the town council.

Town Attorney Cal Spencer said the problem is heir property ­— with plenty of owners, but no one who owns it.

Heir property is land that has been passed down informally from generation to generation.

Usually, the owner died without a will and consequently the land is owned “in common” by all of the heirs, regardless of whether they live on the land, pay the taxes or have ever even set foot on it.

The problem is that the property usually isn’t worth much worth and nobody is paying taxes — and nobody wants to take on the expense for property that they don’t individually own, officials said.

Earlier this year, Mayor Emory Hodges renewed the call for money to be put in the budget to demolish small houses.