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Thurmont unveils 2017 Budget

Danielle Ryan

(5/25) The Thurmont Board of Commissioners received a proposed budget for the 2017 fiscal year at the May 3rd Town meeting. Randy Eyler, Wastewater Department Superintendent, and Linda Joyce, the Chief Financial Officer, were both present at the meeting and presented the Council with the Sewer Enterprise Fund and the remaining part of the General Fund for the 2017 budget.

There was a discussion regarding the Fund Balance among the Commissioners. Commissioner Burns stated that adding the Fund Balance to the operating budget is an unrealistic, unsustainable way to use the fund. Both Burns and Commissioner Hamrick believed that the money should be allocated toward a Capital Budget or it should be saved/set aside for a "rainy day fund." Last fiscal year, it was decided that there would be a 50/50 split. 50% would be used for the fund balance and 50% would be brought forward. By the end, majority voted that the Fund Balance would be placed into the Capital Funds Budget.

Last year, the Sewer Service fees/Sewer tax was budgeted at $1,590,000. This year, the amount received totals $1,185,809. Based on the actual year to date total of $1,575,136, the amount comparison from last year was lowered by $25,000 from last year’s budgeted total.

The total expenditures equaled $1,181,578. This included the cost of salaries, which have not changed, supplies and operating materials, electric, vehicle repair, sledge hauling, training/education and general operating funds.

Total Revenue is $1,728,180, and the Revenue over Expenditures before Capital Expenditures is $546,602. Both the values of expenditures and revenues will change as the Fund Balance is moved to the Capital Fund.

The capital investments for the Wastewater Department totals $306,725. Capital improvements presented included a new machine to help with the wear and tear seen on sludge pumps, thereby providing a longer lifetime for the pumps, a new garage bay for the trucks, a new snow blower, a complete change to Ethernet including touch ups to the whole program, repairs to trucks and sewer line rehabilitation.

During the second part of the meeting, the general fund budget was discussed. Real estate taxes, presented as a constant yield this year is 0.2931 cents per $100 assessed value. Assessments were presented to have increased a small amount from last year, totaling $1,492,227. This year, the personal property tax was budgeted separately, as it is seen as a separate entity from real estate taxes. The total is $105,000. The income tax is totaled at $640,000, and the total revenue is budgeted at $67,300 with use of 50 percent of the fund balance ($4,025,799).

The expenses included an additional $15,000 for a potential part time position office accountant who would be responsible for updating the system. This potential position could reduce the auditor fees significantly.

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