UNION — The City of Union’s municipal budget for fiscal 2014-2015 will be over $3 million more than its current budget because of expected increases in the wholesale cost of electricity and natural gas.
The proposed 2014-2015 budget totals $45,237,170, an increase of 8.25 percent over the current budget of $41,870,350.
In presenting the proposed budget to Union City Council, Finance Director Walker Gallman says the increase is due mainly to expected increases in the cost of wholesale power and natural gas.
The municipal budget includes the general fund which covers municipal government functions such as the public safety department, public service/street department, city court, community services, city attorney, and general administration; solid waste management fund which covers municipal garbage collection; and the utility department which includes the electrical, natural gas, water, and sewer divisions.
The general fund portion of the budget totals $5,701,850 and Gallman said it includes $121,900 for equipment replacement.
Solid Waste Management
The solid waste management budget totals $763,200 and Gallman said that while it includes no capital expenditures, it does include an increase in the monthly garbage collection fee from $15 to $16.
The utility fund totals $37,634,120 including $368,000 for equipment replacement and vehicles and $2,678,900 for utility infrastructure.
The increased cost of energy will be passed on to the department’s customers who will see increases in their electric, water, and sewer rates.
Council voted unanimously to approve first reading of the proposed budget.
Council also voted unanimously to approve first reading of the ordinance adopting the 2014-2015 tax levy. The tax levy will remain at its current level of 92.5 mills.
In other business, council voted unanimously to award the following bids:
• To BB&T for the financing of the purchase of a Ford F-750 Bucket Truck for a rate of 1.55 percent and quarterly payments of $10,115.54. In a related matter, council also voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Harold Thompson to enter into a lease purchase agreement with BB&T for the truck. The agreement will involve 20 quarterly payments of $10,115.54 over a five-year period.
• To Sailor’s Paving to asphalt and gravel the parking lot, add new concrete walkways, and grass with sod to the proposed Farmers Market on East Main Street for $38,126.03.
Council also voted unanimously to authorize Thompson to enter the city into an agreement with and participate in the Lancaster County HOME Consortium dba Catawba Region Home Consortium.
The purpose of the agreement is to enable the city to increase affordable housing opportunities for present and future residents, especially those it describes as “very low-income.” In order to this, the resolution states the city has determined this can best be accomplished through joint action with other local governments.
By entering into the consortium, the city will be able to access funding from the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program which provides funds to state and local governments “for affordable housing assistance with the flexibility to decide what kind of housing assistance or mix of housing assistance is most appropriate for local needs.”
Union County Council and the Carlisle Town Council have also approved similar resolutions authorizing Supervisor Tommy Sinclair and Mayor Mary Ferguson-Glenn, respectively, to sign agreements making the county and the town part of the consortium.