By Mark S. Kenna
June 20, 2013. In a 3-2 vote, the Boone Town Council passed its 2013-2014 budget Thursday night without a 5-cent increase on property taxes, keeping those rates level since 2006.
Council Members Allan Scherlen and Jamie Leigh voted against the upcoming year’s $22.3-million budget.
“I think we have been fiscally irresponsible in how we crafted this budget,” Leigh said. “Because I don’t really think that we made any hard choices.”
She said the town’s budget is “handled” for the upcoming year, but balancing the budget the following year poses problems.
“We did not do what we should have done,” Leigh said.
Initially, the budget was trimmed of dental benefits for the employees of the Town of Boone. However, at the beginning of the Thursday’s meeting, Leigh proposed amending the budget to cover the benefits for town workers. Fifty thousand dollars were allocated from the General Fund and $25,000 from Sewer and Water Fund to cover this section of the budget.
Before the vote on the budget, Council Member Lynne Mason said that the proposed budget was crafted without a 5-cent increase on property taxes, but that it also does not include capital improvement projects.
Scherlen, the other nay voter, expressed his concern for the infrastructure and the current state of the Public Works Department building. He warned Town Council to start putting money away for infrastructure repairs and did not approve of the budget this year for “ethical” reasons.
“We need to be looking at the future and one of the ways to do that is unfortunately, to look at new revenues,” Schelen said. “It may not be 5 cents, but we have to possibly think of some amount going to that.”