Norton city council nears FY 20 budget approval

Mike Still • Jun 5, 2019 at 1:30 PM

NORTON — The Norton City Council will hold a final vote June 18 on an overall $14.84 million FY 2020 budget.

Council members on Tuesday reviewed the draft budget, which includes no tax increases.

In recapping the budget plan presented in May, City Manager Fred Ramey Jr. told council members the budget includes the $10.28 million general operating budget, $3.26 million enterprise fund covering water and sewer service and $1.3 million social services budget

If approved, though, the enterprise fund budget will include a 35-cent per 1,000-gallon increase in the rate paid by city and out-of-city customers. Ramey said that represents the only change in city-charged revenue.

Under the existing billing structure, customers now pay a minimum 2,000-gallon base charge of $17.40 and $5.80 for each additional 1,000 gallons. If the new budget is approved, starting July 1, customers will pay $18.10 for the first 2,000 gallons and $6.15 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Non-city customers would see the same 35-cent hike, to $27.15 for the first 2,000 gallons and $12.30 per 1,000 gallons after that.

While the increase would affect the dollar amount of sewer charges customers would pay, the existing sewer rate — 175 percent of water charges for in-city customers and 200 percent for out-of-city customers — would remain the same.

The residential $12 garbage fee and commercial customer scale for garbage pickup on city water bills would not change. The monthly water improvement charge scale on bills also would not change.

On the general operating side for FY 2020, Ramey said $300,000 in surplus carried over from the current fiscal year would go toward capital projects including a new roof on the Norton Community Center, an expanded tennis court facility and work on the planned Destination Center for visitors and tourists near the south U.S. 23 exit into the city.

The council also approved a public hearing for $934,700 in year-end amendments to its current budget. The hearing is required because the changes exceed the 1 percent threshold allowed under state law for local budget changes without a public hearing.

Ramey said the amendments were necessary because of incoming revenues for various projects along with the fund transfers needed to allocate money to those projects. That public hearing will be at 6 p.m. on June 18.

The council also approved a $2,000 donation request from the Norton Youth Sports Foundation to help replace worn and outdated youth football safety equipment.