Monterey council continues budget hearing
Monterey, Va. –
The Monterey Town Council planned to hold a budget public hearing at its regular meeting on Thursday, June 7, but a mistake in the meeting announcement in the Recorder newspaper prevented that hearing from being completed. The ad in the Recorder gave the date of the budget public hearing as Thursday, June 3, rather than June 7.
Town Attorney Melissa Dowd summarizes the situation for the Council and makes a suggestion.
“There are two mistakes in the published version of the budget,” she said. “The first defining the fiscal year and the second is defining the date of the public hearing. It had it on June 3, which would have been on Sunday,” she said. “Open your public hearing and keep your public hearing open for a week. And I would put a notice on the door of the Town Office that you are receiving comments on the town budget, so that you guys can receive any comments that anyone wants to make. As I said, the statute just says that you have to have a public hearing.”
The Council approved a motion to keep the budget public hearing open and to hold another meeting on Thursday, June 14 to continue the public hearing. The Town budget was published in the Recorder newspaper and showed the general budget category total expenses as $124,664 with a $2,886 surplus. The Water and Sewer category expenses were $382,937, with a projected deficit of $35,462.
Mayor Janice Warner summarized the town budget for the council members and discussed the deficit.
“We’re OK as far as the general is concerned, we have an excess of $2,886.22,” said Mayor Warner. “In the water and sewer we have a deficit of $35,462.50. One of the things I like to tell people about this deficit, when you talk about the budget, it’s a wish list. We don’t know what we’re gonna have. We may come out with $35,000 to the good. It depends on how much we have along the way that is unforeseeable. So how we arrive at this figure is we take what came in and what we spent this year and we look at the things we think we’re gonna have to do next year and that’s how we come up with it.”
The USDA Rural Development grant that funded the new waste water treatment plant in Monterey has a remaining balance of $164,000 for the town to use. Mayor Warner continues her discussion of the budget and how deficits have been handled in the past.
“In the event we come up needing $35,000, we have some money left in our fund from when we started the sewer treatment plant,” she said. “And if we would come up with say $20,000 that was gonna go over the amount we have in our budget, then I could come back to the Council and then, if you give me the authority to move that money, then that’s how it’s taken care of.”
During the public hearing, Jay Garber, who was elected to the Council and will take office in July, stated that he would prefer to see a town budget that did not show a deficit. Council members discussed ways that could be accomplished. However, no changes to the proposed budget were adopted.
The Town Council completed its public hearing on June 14 and has scheduled a meeting for Thursday, June 28 at 7:30 in the Highland library to consider adoption of the new town budget.