06/24/08 — Mount Olive Town Board approves spending plan with new water rates

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Mount Olive Town Board approves spending plan with new water rates

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 24, 2008 1:45 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A special meeting Monday of the Mount Olive Town Board resulted in the approval of a $5.6 million budget, a spending plan that includes restructured water rates, an increase in garbage fees and the salary for a new parks and recreation director.

Town Manager Charles Brown characterized the budget as "tight", but said he still feels it represents thoughtful use of taxpayer money.

"My philosophy is, if the budget isn't tight, you aren't using the taxpayers' dollars very wisely," he said.

Some of those dollars will be used to fund the $36,000 in salary and benefits for a full-time parks and recreation director, a move Mayor Ray MacDonald Sr., said would help encourage the development of town parks, and in turn, might help draw in new businesses.

"When businesses talk about relocating here, one of the top five questions they ask is, 'What kinds of things are out there for our families?'" he said.

Money will also be spent to begin "badly needed maintenance" on the town's sewer system, Brown said, a project that will be funded using "a little extra money" found in the $2.3 million Water-Sewer Fund.

"Some of these things have needed to be done for a long time," he said.

The budget also calls for restructured water rates.

The monthly water fees will be $7.71 for in-town residential users and $15.42 for out-of-town users; $14 for commercial inside and $28 for commercial outside. The charge per cubic foot of water will be residential inside, .0195, and outside .039; and commercial inside, .013 and outside, .026.

So, a residential customer who uses 350 cubic feet of sewer and water would have a monthly bill of $61.73. The 350 cubic feet of sewer would cost $7.71 and the water would be $13.3 for a total of $21.01.

Brown and MacDonald agreed that the move was "long overdue."

"It might be one of the fairest moves we have ever done," MacDonald said.

Approval of the budget also means an increase in garbage rates, from $15.55 to $16.25, effective July 1.

Brown said an increase in fees at the Wayne County landfill made this necessary.

Although no increase in taxes was included this year, board member Kenny Talton said next year might be a different story.

"Next year is going to be a very important year for us, we might have to consider a tax increase," Talton said.

Board members also approved a motion to request that Rep. Louis Pate Jr. add Mount Olive to a list that allows for regulation of golf carts on city streets. Town Manager Charles Brown said having the town on that state list does not guarantee regulations would be made, but simply ensures that if the town government decided to make rules for golf cart drivers, it could.