Aberdeen passes $14.08 million budget for next year, transfers funds in this year's

With little fanfare, the Aberdeen City Council passed its $14.08 million budget for the next fiscal year that calls for spending less than in this fiscal year and does not include a property tax rate or water and sewer rate increase.

As it passed the budget 4-0 (Councilman Bruce Garner was absent) for fiscal year 2015 during its city council meeting Monday night, the council members adjusted this year's budget to make repairs at the Aberdeen swim club and Ripken Stadium and one councilwoman thanked The Record for its recent editorial.

The biggest portion of the city's revenues, 68 percent, comes from property taxes. The property tax rate is projected to remain the same at 68 cents per $100 worth of real property and $1.70 for every $100 of personal property, according to the budget.

The water rates will remain at $15.23 for the first 3,500 gallons and $4.60 for every 1,000 gallons used thereafter. Sewer rates will remain at $19.57 for the first 3,500 gallons and $5.58 for every 1,000 gallons more used.

The city's capital budget was approved at $1.21 million for a total budget for FY15 of $15.3 million.

The approved general fund budget is 16.3 percent lower than this fiscal year.

During the meeting, Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck thanked The Record for its editorial last Friday pointing out Aberdeen's fiscal conservation, for cutting spending, not raising taxes, to compensate for a decrease in revenues.

She read part of the editorial aloud, then said "Thank you for recognizing that it is mundane, that it does take a long time, but every step of the way is very crucial," Landbeck said.

Aberdeen has a great team in Mayor Mike Bennett, City Manager Doug Miller and Finance Director Opiribo Jack, she said.

"They get together and work a miracle each year," she said. "And the city manager always makes sure our employees are taken care of."

Also at Monday's meeting, the council adjusted this year's budget to pay for repairs at the Aberdeen swim club and Ripken Stadium, most of which were caused by this winter's extreme cold weather.

The council approved the transfer of $24,000 from the fund balance for the swim club and $114,435 from the fund balance for the stadium, according to the amendments.

The kid's pool at the swim club was damaged by the severe cold, Miller said, and one problem caused another, eventually requiring a series of repairs.

"Kind of like home improvement repairs, they keep going and going," Bennett joked.

The stadium repairs were partially caused by the cold weather and partially because of improper initial installation, Miller said. They include a new ceiling and fire alarm/suppression system in the crab shack as well as outfield padding and some piping and pump repairs.

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