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Capital project budget amendments approved

(2/10) Thurmont Commissioners were given a presentation of the town’s budget halfway through the fiscal year, and while on track overall, there are some over-budget items and amendments that needed to be addressed.

So far Thurmont has used approximately 47% of their budget, but town staff notified the Board of Commissioners that there are some capital projects coming due that need to be funded. Additionally, there are some unexpected expenses that have occurred thus far that will need to be addressed. An unexpected cost that may need to be re-visited in the future as a budget amendment is the repair of a backhoe in the Waste Water Department that cost $4,951. This repair bumped the originally budgeted $4,300 to $7,755. Also, new pedestrian and traffic control signs were installed recently that cost a combined total of $8,652. This was $3,152 over the budgeted amount. The signs were installed as part of an overall sign upgrade in order to remain in compliance with the state.

Furthermore, the telephone expense in general is over-budget. Verizon Wireless made some upgrades related to the GIS programs and AT&T fees across the board increased. Chief Financial Officer Linda Joyce also mentioned that she would be conducting an audit on all phone services currently utilized by the town. Last year, Joyce conducted an audit on Verizon Wireless and as a result found hotspots that weren’t being used, but the town was being charged for. She was able to save $250 overall and hopes conducting a related audit will have similar results.

Aside from some over-budget items, the Board of Commissioners approved four budget amendments related to capital items during the January 23 town meeting. The first amendment covered the purchase of the 2017 RAVO Street Sweeper, which was purchased earlier in 2017. $228,003 was moved from the FY18 General Fund to the Streets Capital Expenditure in order to cover this purchase. The second amendment simply involved moving the $163,985 Highway User One Time Grant into the budget, so it could be used for a project at a later time. The third amendment allowed the transfer of $10,000 from the unrestricted fund balance to the Waste Water Capital budget in order to upgrade the GIS programs.

The final amendment will help cover the cost of a larger infrastructure project in town. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick stated that there are infrastructure deficiencies being found all around town. "We don’t see anything that will need to happen this fiscal year, but we’ll need to keep these projects in the back of our minds to plan for the future." However, the Rouzer/Mantle Court Capital Project needs to be taken care of immediately. This project will address compaction issues in the sewer lines that were poorly constructed a few years ago. The project is expected to cost $257,000, which was broken down to: $167,000 for construction costs, $72,000 for the cost of paving, and $25,000 for engineering costs.

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