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Carroll County Times

Westminster close to finalized FY13 budget

Westminster's mayor and Common Council will conduct a public hearing Monday for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget and they will vote on a finalized proposal the following week.

After two budget workshops by the council in April, the city is estimating a 1-cent cut to property taxes while the city's water and sewer funds will remain unchanged in FY13, according to Councilman Robert Wack, chairman of the finance committee.

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The city has drafts of two budget workshop reviews available on its website. The reviews include budgets for the city's three funds - general, water and sewer.

The drafts will likely be changed before Monday's hearing based on ongoing work and evaluations to the projections, Wack said.

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The draft of the general fund budget was introduced at the April 9 workshop. The budget requests an estimate of more than $9.2 million for taxes, which includes real and personal property taxes, tax credits and income taxes.

The budget estimate for tax revenue in FY13 is about $45,000 less than the projected total for Fiscal Year 2012, according to the draft.

The total general fund revenue budget is estimated at more than $11 million, which would be more than $400,000 than the projected budget for FY12.

The general fund budget requests consist of the public works department, more than $5.2 million; public safety, almost $6 million; and the recreation and parks department, which has more than $1 million requested for FY13.

The remaining departments included in the general fund are community support, facilities, finance and administrative services, debt service, human resources, executive and legislative, and planning, zoning and development.

The city is estimating increased revenue of more than $44,000 for licenses and permits in FY13. The bulk of the city's licenses and permits revenue is $200,000 from cable television franchise fees, according to the draft budget requests. The budget also includes parking fees from three city garages, which equals $120,000.

The city is estimating $856,053 in charges for services in FY13. The services include parking meters, swimming pool fees, the family center, holiday programs and zoning and annexation fees. The city is projecting a total of $570,100 in charges for services in FY12, the draft details.

The increase in the charges for services comes from $260,803 of capital benefit assessment fees estimated in FY13. The estimate is based on fees paid by developers to help finance capital projects, according to Wack.

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The city is expecting to move forward with multiple capital improvement projects in FY13, including projects at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and to the city's wells and pipelines. The estimate for assessment fees is based on the expectation of those projects moving forward.

The city is estimating more than $700,000 in miscellaneous income, an increase of about $500,000 from FY12.

The bulk of the miscellaneous budget comes from about $450,000 of unappropriated surplus money, which is unused money from FY12 that is rolled-over. The miscellaneous budget also includes money from the historic district commission and a police discretionary fund.

The city's water and sewer rates will remain unchanged in FY13, Wack said.

The council will hold a public hearing Monday and is expected to vote on a proposal May 15.


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