06/27/11 — Fremont budget gets approval

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Fremont budget gets approval

By Gary Popp
Published in News on June 27, 2011 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont Board of Aldermen adopted the town's 2011-12 budget last week.

It contains no increase in taxes, fees or utilities.

Wayne County's recent tax reassessment would result in a tax neutral rate for Fremont of 60.97 cents, Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said.

The increase in the value of property in Fremont, according to the county's tax office, will allow the town to generate more money than in previous years, although it will continue its tax rate of 65 cents.

The town will operate on a $3,513,586 budget.

The largest items in the town's revenue ledger include $268,500 in real property tax, $140,000 in local government sales tax and $104,000 in refuse collection fees.

The town's highest expenditure is the Fremont Police Department, which was allotted $259,511. Administration costs, which includes salaries, will soak up $203,766 of the budget, while sanitation will cost the town $144,856.

The town allotted $89,289 to continue receiving fire services from the Fremont Volunteer Fire Department.

The electric service is anticipated to operate with $1,823,000, while the water and sewer utility fund is planned to operate with an $840,000 budget.

Officials are hoping the steep water and sewer costs, paid to the city of Goldsboro, that have plagued the town since 2003 have been significantly mitigated.

For years, Fremont was paying large fees to Goldsboro to have its wastewater processed because so much rainwater seeped into pipes and mixed with the sewage.

"We had a world where water and sewer fund was losing a lot of money," McDuffie said. "We were paying Goldsboro hundreds of thousands of dollars a year we didn't have because we were sending so much rainwater to them. We were using money out of these other funds, primarily electric and general fund, to support this water and sewer fund that was losing money."

Earlier this year the water and sewer fund was indebted to the town's general and electric funds for a total of nearly $800,000.

Town officials think better days could be ahead with the installation of a $960,000 spray field earlier in the year, which will allow the town to process more of its own wastewater and send less waste to Goldsboro, and a $510,000 project recently completed to seal some of the leaks in the sewer infrastructure.

McDuffie said there is still rainwater seepage into the sewer pipes, but officials now know the location of most of the problem areas.

If the spray field and the improvements to the sewer lines prove to be self-sufficient, the town will entertain taking action to forgive the debt the water and sewer fund owes the general and electric funds, McDuffie said.