Pikeville approves budget
By Laura Collins
Published in News on June 27, 2010 1:50 AM
PIKEVILLE -- The Pikeville Board of Commissioners approved its 2010-11 budget Tuesday night, a spending plan that does not increase property taxes nor utility rates for residents.
The $2.17 million budget is 18 percent less than the current budget. Town Administrator Kathie Fields said town officials were able to reduce the size of the budget without cutting services or staff.
"I'm excited about this budget. I'm very pleased that we have cut it and not increased taxes for the citizens of the town of Pikeville. We are going to strive to maintain this budget," she said.
Fields added that the reason that the board was able to cut 18 percent was because the town does not have any capital outlay projects planned for the coming year.
"There are probably some things in town that need to be done, but at this point in time there are no plans (for capital projects)," she said.
There is also no money in the budget set aside to correct flooding problems in Collingwood subdivision. Fields said the board is still looking at the best option to deal with flooding in the area.
The budget does not contain raises for town employees and eliminates travel expenses and education expenses for board members.
There will be an increase in the water tank maintenance fee that residents pay, from $2 to $3.
The approved budget also included an additional $1,000 for the Pikeville-Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Department that the proposed budget did not include. At the June board meeting, members of the fire department questioned commissioners as to why the town planned to cut its funding from $29,000 to $27,000. Chief Ken Jones said the department was under the impression when they agreed on $29,000 last year, that they agreed that's what the department would receive for the next three years. Commissioner Dennis Lewis said he does not remember that agreement, nor was he able to find a mention of it in the recordings of the meetings.
But fire department President Russell Robertson said if the percentage the fire department receives is based on taxes collected, there shouldn't be any reason that amount is $2,000 less than it was last year.
Mayor Johnny Weaver asked the fire department officials if they could agree on a $1,000 increase, to $28,000. In the final budget, the money was moved from the general fund and put into the fire department fund.
Although the budget, which goes into effect July 1, doesn't include utility rate increases, the town's residents will still see a slightly higher electric bill.
In response to a rate increase from ElectriCities, the Pikeville Board of Commissioners voted in January to increase the electric rate 7 percent beginning in July.
Currently, the rate per 1,000 kilowatts of electricity is $135.90. The average home uses about 1,500 kilowatts of electricity, meaning the average electricity bill in Pikeville is about $203.85. Starting in July, the new rate will be $145.40 per 1,000 kilowatts of electricity, about $218.10 for the average user. That's an increase of $14.25 per month, or $171 annually, for customers who use 1,500 kilowatts each month.