06/07/05 — Princeton could pay more this fall

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Princeton could pay more this fall

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 7, 2005 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Princeton residents might be paying more in taxes in 2005-06.

The town board on Monday night received a budget that called for a 2-cent increase, from 52 cents to 54 cents, in property taxes.

Water and sewer and garbage fees were increased, along with salaries for town employees.

"Some towns are going up 5 to 10 percent, and Wayne County is going up 10 cents," Mayor Don Rains said during a budget workshop at the end of the monthly town board meeting in the Community Building. "We're trying to hold the line as much as possible."

Town Clerk Marla Ashworth presented a balanced budget that called for a 2.5 percent hike in water and sewer rates and a 7.7 percent increase in the garbage collection fee to $14.85.

Waste Management, the town's contracted trash hauler, sought a 3.7 percent increase in its monthly collection fee and a 4 percent surcharge for higher fuel costs.

Despite the increase, Rains said he had no complaints about the service.

Under the proposed budget, Princeton employees will get a 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment. A few employees also will get merit raises.

The budget also included raises for the four-man board and mayor. Commissioner David Starling opposed the raises, saying the board was not being good stewards of the town's money.

The public can comment on the proposed budget during a special meeting at 7 p.m. next Monday at Town Hall. The board must approve a new budget before July 1.

The projected general fund revenue was estimated at about $630,000 and the water and sewer fund was forecast at about $526,000.

The board also heard an update on the sewer project.

Engineer C.T. Clayton Jr. of New Bern said many places where rainwater infiltrated sewer lines had been found during recent smoke-testing. He estimated that 177,000 gallons of rainwater had entered the system but that 53 percent of the problem areas had been corrected.

Clayton said the state could fine Princeton for violating its special order of consent to operate the sewer plant, but he added that the state was working with the town. He also said the town should see the benefit from new clarifiers installed at the plant.

The board also awarded a contract to Clayton for engineering services for the next phase in the completion of the Ray M. Floors Community Park.

Among the projects left are a walking trail with a wooden bridge, a picnic shelter, restrooms, playground equipment, an amphitheater with a gazebo, a parking lot and gardens.

In other business, the board:

*Approved a parade planned by the Princeton Ministerial Association at 11 a.m. July 4 to honor veterans and public safety officers.

*Agreed to pay $3,500 in July and $4,450 in July 2006 for a codification of town ordinances.

*Restructured job descriptions of a supervisor and a worker in the maintenance department.