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CAROLINA SHORES—Allocations for a future police department and speed humps are among budgetary details being mulled by town commissioners.
At a May 5 budget workshop, commissioner Gere Dale said $50,000 is tentatively being set aside in “police department reserve” in the preliminary $1,475,844 proposed budget for 2008-2009, which takes effect July 1.
After town commissioner Joseph Przywara questioned reserve accounts, Dale, who heads the town finance committee, said both “dedicated and undedicated” reserves are the sign of a healthy budget, such as those for hurricane disaster.
Przywara, who said he has handled budgets much larger than this one, said, “We should have some focus on where we’re going.”
“That’s why I’ve advocated for a town planner, to plan where we’re going,” he said, citing as an example a future police department, which would require a “huge” outlay.
“Fifty thousand dollars is a mere drop in the bucket,” Dale said.
The Calabash Fire Department also requires significant financial support, he said.
Przywara said that reserve was not laid out anywhere in preliminary numbers presented to commissioners.
“I guess it’s what you’d call a rainy day fund,” Carolina Shores Mayor Stephen Selby said, adding that down the road there may be a need for reserve funding for police, fire or a “major storm.”
On the surface, it may look like a “surplus,” he said, but it is funding recommended towns set aside for future growth or reconstruction after a major storm.
“I don’t want to see it getting bigger and bigger,” Przywara said.
“If we get to the point we have a big reserve, it is time to consider reducing taxes,” Selby said.
Town commissioners are anticipating no tax increase in the next fiscal year.
Dale said preliminary budget calculations call for the town tax to remain at 8 cents per $100, which translates to $160 in taxes on a $200,000 house or $200 on a $250,000 house.
He also advocated a plan for the county to take over collecting property taxes.
“The budget committee recommends we avail ourselves of this service,” Dale said.
Dale also referred to a proposal to install six portable speed humps, at $160 each, on a trial basis, at strategic speed spots along town thoroughfares such as Carolina Shores Parkway. He said the humps could be easily installed and removed.
Przywara questioned the liabilities of such a plan.
Dale said that has not been addressed. But with the previous stop signs that were tried over a year ago, “I would assume communications would go out at least three months in advance to notify people it’s going to happen.”
“And on a trial basis, the first one is going in front of Gere Dale’s house,” Selby joked.
Commissioner Jack Csernecky said the town took a lot of guff with the stop signs.
“I think you’re going to have the same with speed humps,” he said.
“Gere is saying just have the money in case,” said commissioner John Russo, describing the humps as a “speed control device.”
“How big are these humps?” commissioner Tom Puls asked, adding the fire department doesn’t like having to roll over them when they have to go to a call.
“There’s a big difference between humps and bumps,” Przywara said.