06/06/07 — Pikeville prepares for more work on town's budget plan

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Pikeville prepares for more work on town's budget plan

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on June 6, 2007 1:46 PM

The Pikeville Board of Commissioners continued looking toward the future during its meeting Monday, setting its sights on improved infrastructure and a new town administrator.

But Mayor Herb Sieger said it is important for the town and its board to take their goals one step at a time.

"We want to finish the budget before we begin reviewing applications," Sieger said, referring to the four applications the town has received for its vacant town administrator position.

Bob Buchanan, who worked as the town's administrator for a year, retired May 11 for personal reasons. Town clerk Kathie Fields is serving as the interim town administrator until a replacement is found. The next administrator will make up to $40,000 based on qualifications and experience.

After Buchanan's departure, the town board continued to work on the next fiscal year's budget, which goes into effect July 1. Although a tax or fee increase is not planned for the next year, Buchanan warned the board before he resigned that some kind of increase will be necessary for the 2008-09 fiscal year to continue providing services to Pikeville residents.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 26 at the town park's community building.

The working budget has about $249,000 in improvements, including $15,000 for repairs to the town's backhoe.

Pikeville is also expected to spend $35,000 a year for the next three years to supplement a grant that will improve the town's park. Initial plans include demolishing the old gymnasium and school cafeteria to make more space for a ballpark, which will be illuminated after three light poles are installed. Water fountains, restrooms and dressing rooms would also be built.

The grant will also help build handicap-accessible ramps at the park's playground and a performing stage. Any other funds will be used to install a separate heating and air conditioning unit at the community building.

But the two largest issues facing Pikeville in the next year and beyond are improvements to the town's sewer and electrical systems. Plans for both projects have been completed and the town is waiting for state approval before more improvements can be made, Sieger said.

The electrical upgrade will expand the kilovolt system from 4 kV to 12.5 kV. Sieger said that should allow the town to double its customer base, but it also provides an opportunity to provide power to any industry locating near the new U.S. 117 outside of Pikeville.

Improvements to the town's sewer system are also expected to benefit more residents and businesses, Sieger said.

Many sewer line repairs throughout Pikeville should occur in the next year as long as the town receives adequate Clean Water Management Trust Fund money from the state. That trust fund provides grants to municipalities across the state to improve infrastructure.