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Windsor budget passed

WINDSOR – The Town of Windsor’s budget for fiscal year 2008-2009 includes no tax increase, but citizens will pay more for services beginning July 1.

The $7.3 million budget passed unanimously here June 12 during the regular meeting of the Windsor Board of Commissioners, with no property tax increase.

However, there are raises in the water and sewer rates as well as the garbage collection rate.

Water and sewer rates will increase from an average of $10.10 (per 5,000 gallon usage) to $11.40 per month.

Sewer rates will increase from an average of $14 to $15.80.

Out-of-town rates for those customers in the extra-territorial jurisdiction are double that of in-town rates.

Windsor Town Administrator Alan Castelloe told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that the reason for the water and sewer increases was simply due to increasing costs for the town.

&uot;The system is barely self-sustaining even with the rates increase; we didn’t really have a choice except to raise the rates,&uot; he noted.

The residential garbage collection rate will increase from $7 to $7.50 per month, also due to rising costs.

The budget includes $1.7 million in general funds, $233,900 for the water department, $435,000 for the town sewer system and $4.9 million for electricity.

Included in the general funds expenditures is a new position being added to the Windsor Police Department due to the additional manpower that is required for investigations at Bertie Correctional Institute (BCI).

&uot;All BCI investigations fall under the town’s police department’s jurisdiction.

We’ve estimated that 125-130 man hours have been spent out at the prison in a 12-month period, with an additional three times that amount also spent on preparatory and adjudication work related to those cases,&uot; explained Castelloe.

For that reason, the town will now hire a detective/local ordinance enforcement officer to fill that capacity.

Town employees will receive a three percent cost of living raise in the upcoming fiscal year as well as an average of a two percent merit raise.

Most departments also received a slight increase in appropriations budgeted in order to provide the same level of services as the previous fiscal year.

The town’s revenues are based on a property tax base of roughly $113 million, with a 96.3 percent collection rate at $0.15 per $100 property valuation.

This year’s $7.3 million budget is a slight decrease from the last fiscal year’s originally budgeted $7.4 million, but Castelloe says nearly $400,000 of last year’s budget was based on that same amount of grants which are not budgeted for this fiscal year.