Snead approves budget, adjusts salary increases

Having previously postponed approval of its 2012 fiscal budgets, the Snead Town Council adopted the townclerk proposed spending plans with one adjustment. ClerkRaeWarehadincludeda5percentraisefortown employees; councilman Jack Freeman objected to the size of the raise.

Freeman noted he could agree to a smaller raise, to prevent employees’ suffering a decrease with statemandated increased retirement contributions. Ware shared her reasons, which included the generally low wages and comparatively small figure for the increase.

Ware explained that for a $10-an-hour worker, the increase amounted to 50-cents-an-hour. Councilman Curtis Painter spoke with Freeman and then proposed a flat 50-cents-an-hour raise for all employees. The council accepted that compromise with Mayor Tim Kent explaining the town needed to take care of its employees in order to keep them.

The originally proposed budget listed revenues over $960,000 for the general fund with expenses of just under $925,000. The combined water and sewer budgets had $1,057,824 in revenues and $763,575 in expenses. In other accounts, the budgets read $13,133 (revenues) and $11,220 (expenditures) for special revenues, $20,802 in revenues and $24,356 in expenditures in park and recreation, and a total of $258,000 for capital projects. Water and sewer

Jim and Shirley Brown addressed the council early in the meeting. The couple’s Oct. 3 water bill totaled $1,441.57. They asked the council to adjust that, since they were unaware of the leak until receiving a warning notice from the utilities department.

Councilors sought advice from utilities director Jeff Whited and endorsed his recommendation to approve a delayed payment arrangement. That plan will combine the October and upcoming November bills and require full monthly usage payment on time with another 10 percent of the larger-than-normal two months’ bills.

Mrs. Brown expressed regret, saying the couple had never been delinquent and had usual monthly bills between $35-$45. The council had discussed the fact that it expected similar problems with other bills and feared establishing an expensive precedent.

White noted the town does have to pay for its water. Part of the town’s water supply comes from a contract with the Marshall County town of Douglas.

In other water matters, Kent asked Whited to research benefit-cost ratios in consenting to a request from the Altoona Housing Authority (AHA). AHA has asked the department to install one meter to replace 25 supplying some of its units. The master meter and installation will run $7000 but will relieve Snead from individual delinquent responsibilities and the added costs of reading the 25 meters.

Whited updated the council on efforts to add another town well. He is awaiting a camera study on that possibility. He also asked the council of its plans on a proposed expansion to the sewer plant. He reminded them they have a permit expiration date by which time the work needs to be done.

Painter inquired of progress utilities department workers have made toward dual water and sewer operator certification. Whited expressed uncertainty of their status. Councilors indicated some irritation over the years they have awaited the certification.

Kent announced Lee Ridge subdivision developer Terry Stover had said he is ready to finalize an agreement with the town for work on Lee Ridge Drive. The councilseta6p.m.worksessionforMonday,Oct.24,to meet with Stover.

Councilmen James Campbell, Phillip McHan, and Charles Sanders joined Kent, Freeman, and Painter for the Oct. 10 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the town community center.