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Sunday, June 23, 2013
Recently, the town of Christiansburg adopted its budget for 2013-14. As each year goes by, creating a workable budget doesn’t get any easier, particularly with the stagnant economy the country has experienced in recent years.
Maintaining a budget in which revenues meet expenses without reducing services can be a stressful undertaking. Many people don’t realize the services that the town provides. Services include: police, rescue squad, fire department, road maintenance and construction and recreation, which includes the recreation and aquatic center, Harkrader Sports Complex baseball and softball fields, the Huckleberry Trail and playgrounds located throughout the town. Also included are transportation (bus service), water, sewage, garbage, cemetery upkeep, revitalization, spring and fall trash pickup, and snow removal. These are some of the services that the town maintains to make Christiansburg a better place to live.
When revenues decrease, as they have in recent years, decisions need to be made — reduce services, reduce salaries or raise taxes. None is very pleasing.
In this year’s budget, the council was able to maintain services, avoid layoffs and protect employee salaries. Council was even able to award employees a 2 percent bonus.
The town did increase taxes, reduce reserves and add a bond to help pay for budget items and several capital improvement projects.
The real estate tax was increased by 1 cent on $100 of valuation. The water, sewage and garbage rates were increased. (These water increases were added to meet the increased cost of the wholesaler.)
The town tries to maintain a balance so that we do not lose money on water and sewage. When the wholesaler goes up, the town is forced to follow. In addition, the maximum monthly utility tax was raised from $2 to $2.50 for gas and electric consumption. Also, the business license tax on retailers was increased from 15 cents per $100 to 17.5 cents per $100. Two one-armed garbage trucks were purchased. Using one-armed trucks will provide improved, better-managed garbage services. Council also approved improvements for the police station and the finance department. Also, a new gym floor for the recreation center was approved, along with major street maintenance.
This year’s budget does not solve all the problems or satisfy everyone, but it does much to satisfy the needs of the town and prepare Christiansburg for the future.
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