06/13/06 — Taxes, trash rates on the rise for Priinceton residents

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Taxes, trash rates on the rise for Priinceton residents

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 13, 2006 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Princeton residents will pay a 2-cent higher tax rate and $1.15 more a month for trash pickup, but might see reduced water and sewer bills if the town's proposed 2006-07 budget is approved.

The town board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on Monday night in the Community Building, A balanced budget must be approved before July 1.

The proposed budget, prepared by Town Clerk Marla Ashworth, calls for a 56-cent tax rate per $100 valuation. Each extra penny brings in about $4,300 to the town.

The town's current $14.85 monthly bill for trash pickup would rise to $16. The trash hauler, Waste Management, says the increase is needed to offset a 4 percent increase in fees and higher gas prices.

But the minimum bill for in-town water and sewer customers would be cut by 67 cents, from $11.90 to $11.23. Commercial customers pay 1.25 times and out-of-town customers pay 1.50 times higher than in-town residents.

The administrative fee to start new water service would be increased $5 to $40, and the fee to transfer locations in town would go up $5 to $30 in the proposed budget.

Mrs. Ashworth said improvements in the town's water and sewer system has reduced water loss and the expected cost of water from Johnston County.

The clerk said the increased tax rate was needed to pay for 3.6 percent cost-of-living and earned merit raises and an 11 percent increase in health insurance premiums for town employees.

Other increases were $500 for the annual town audit and expected hikes in maintenance, telephone and electricity for the new Town Hall beginning in November.

Princeton will spend $11,500 for furniture for the new building and $3,500 for a book of town ordinances from the fund balance.

The town board sliced some requests from Police Chief Eddie Lewis to bring the budget almost in line. Lewis will get four, not eight, new radios and maybe one, not two, taser guns to stun belligerent suspects. The board did question the liability aspects of taser guns if someone is injured.

The board did note that telephone and communications expenses for the police would be up because of new technology in the new Town Hall

Mrs. Ashworth announced that Princeton has been awarded a $13,500 state grant to construct and operate an oil filter, oil and antifreeze recycling facility for Johnston County. The grant covers 90 percent of the cost. The town will match the remainder.

The board added small appropriations for the town Appearance Commission and Project Graduation.