Victoria adopts budget

Published 12:27 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Victoria council adopted its 2016-17 budget during its Tuesday, June 14, meeting — as well as increases to its utility rates and meals tax.

The budget calls for revenues and expenditures of $1,985,541. No one commented on the budget during the public hearing on it.

Meanwhile, council increased the water and sewer rates by $2; trash pickup by $1; and increased the meals tax from 4 percent to 5 percent.

Interim Town manager Rodney Newton noted the town is also taking steps to put more money from the meals tax toward its park.

Council member Ken Boyd was the only one on the board who voted against the budget and the meals tax increase.

“I can’t with a clear conscience vote for a tax increase when I don’t feel like we did everything we could to bring in other revenue,” he later explained.

The minimum charge for water supplied by the town for a family or business will increase by $2 each billing cycle to $28.50 for those using 3,000 gallons, stated a notice published by the town. The charge is the same for users outside of town, the notice said.

For those using more than 3,000 gallons — the fixed quantity allowed for the minimum charge — the rate will be $5.17 per 1,000 gallons, “whether used, wasted and the like as passed through the meter,” the notice stated.

At the same time, the sewer rate in the town — and those users outside of Victoria — will increase by $2 to $15.50 for each month and for those using up to 3,000 gallons. For those exceeding 3,000 gallons, the rate will be $5.54 per 1,000 gallons.

Within and outside of the town, the rate will increase by $2 to $25.50 for each billing cycle for those using sewer only, the notice stated.

In addition, the refuse charge will increase by $1 to $11 per month for in-town collection and by $1 to $14 per month for out-of-town collection. Each commercial or industrial customer would pay a refuse charge of $11 per month for in-town and $14 per month for a single regular weekly collection of refuse, the notice stated.

Each residential householder and each operator of a business within the service area will be assessed a 10 percent penalty for delinquent refuse bills, the notice stated.

By code, one percent of the meals tax goes toward the town’s park, but the council is looking at inserting “a minimal of” in front of the figure so that the statute will allow for the council to put more money toward the park.

Newton noted in May that increasing the park allocation by one-half percent would mean an additional allocation of approximately $8,000.

Mayor Carol R. Watson said in May she backs putting more money toward the park, noting it is “one of the town’s biggest accessories and we have to take care of it.”