06/20/07 — Fremont approves 2007-08 budget

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Fremont approves 2007-08 budget

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on June 20, 2007 1:45 PM

FREMONT -- Out-of-town residents will pay a little more for water and sewer than those who live inside Fremont, but just how much town officials don't know yet.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. on June 26 to hear a proposal from Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie, who said he was not comfortable with the numbers yet and wanted another week to work on them.

The rate changes will not affect the 2007-2008 budget, which the board unanimously adopted Tuesday night after a public hearing at which no one spoke.

The numbers for the $802,000 sewer fund will not change. The increase paid by those who live outside town will be offset by the discount given those who live in town.

The $788,000 general fund budget includes no increase from the current rate of 65 cents on the $100 of property value.

The town will dip into the fund balance for the electric department to buy a radio to read the meters.

Garbage pick-up will be $14 a month for those who live inside Fremont and $16 for those who live within a one-mile radius of town.

All town employees will receive a 2.5 percent cost of living increase. Police officers will receive a one-time $1,000 increase.

Police Chief Ron Rawlings said he is glad his officers received more money. He told the board he has developed a promotion policy, a field training officer program and an evaluation program for each officer.

"In the long run, it makes him a better officer. It makes him accountable, and he'll be a better officer on the street," the chief said.

The situation with street drugs has improved, he said. The officers are forcing those who used to just stand out on the street using to move to other places.

"We're going to continue to make it uncomfortable for them. You won't get rid of it over night, but we're working and not sitting around," Rawlings said.

The library will receive $4,000 in the new budget. Library supporters had requested $10,000 from the new budget.

"The budget is about as good as we can get it," Mayor Devon Jones said.

The board also instructed McDuffie to have library officials present guidelines for awarding naming rights for rooms to people who donate certain amounts of money to the library.

In other business, the board adopted a resolution accepting a construction loan offer from the Division of Water Quality for $228,000 to help the town finish up its sewer work. The zero percent interest loan will be paid over 20 years, with the first payment due in the 2008-2009 year.

The sewer repair work is coming along well, McDuffie told the board.

"We're 40 percent complete," he said. The workers are all over town and are replacing more lines. "We're already seeing a difference since we started."