06/15/04 — Eureka holds budget hearing

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Eureka holds budget hearing

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on June 15, 2004 1:57 PM

EUREKA -- Town residents joined board members Monday as they discussed how to best balance the upcoming budget.

The entire budget is $122,742 and includes a pay raise of $5 a month for commissioners and the mayor. Other expenditures include the following:

*$22,000 for sewer charges from Fremont

*$5,300 for a town manager

*$6,500 for fire tax distribution

*$10,800 for safety patrol salaries

*$2,000 for patrol car service

*$3,000 for a cemetery survey

*$500 for new plot markers

There is a new postal clerk, Denise Lewis, and $8,316 is budgeted for her salary.

Revenue items in the budget include the following:

*$16,000 for cemetery sales

*$16,400 for solid waste fees

*$23,600 for local sales tax

Property taxes will stay the same. The board will adopt the budget on June 30 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, and the July monthly meeting will follow.

A couple of citizens voiced concerns about the high sewer bills from Fremont and about the town's shrinking tax base.

Lillie Mozingo, a Eureka resident, said there are many senior citizens on a fixed income who cannot afford to pay the high sewer bills.

Fremont officials have said their meters are registering three times more waste than Eureka's meters are showing and the town has received bills totaling over $30,000 in four months. So far, Fremont officials have said that Eureka may, for now, pay based on what it thinks it is pumping.

Virginia Chase, a Eureka resident, said her sewer bill has been as high as $91.

The state has allowed Eureka to disconnect from the Fremont line and divert sewage to its lagoons, which were part of the old sewer system. The town will continue to use the lagoons until someone finds out what is wrong with the conveyance line.

New meters are expected to be installed soon, and tests will be run daily to check the sewage flow. Herbert Green is getting re-certified to operate the sewer system, and $8,460 was placed in the upcoming budget to pay him.

Ms. Mozingo said there are a lot of empty houses in town, causing the tax base to shrink. She suggested either extending the city limits or de-incorporating the town.

"It's like we're on a path of destruction," she added.

Commissioner Myrtie Sauls said those who want the town to disband should be given the lawyer's name and phone number and they can call with their concerns. They should then be responsible for paying to clean up the cemetery and other things that the board does for the town.

Mayor Randy Bass concluded the meeting by saying the board is doing the best it can, and he encouraged residents to come to future board meetings and give their input.