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New Huntingdon budget passes on 1st reading

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First-reading approval was given to an ordinance adopting a new 2021-22 fiscal year budget during a June 15 called meeting of the Huntingdon Town Council.

The ordinance also sets the town property tax rate, which will remain at $1.2487 per $100 of assessed property value.

In commenting on the new budget, Mayor Dale Kelley pointed out that during his 29-year tenure as mayor, the town has accomplished a lot, including improvements to streets and sidewalks, building additional park facilities and renovating existing parks, water and sewer extensions and upgrades, improvements to the downtown and business districts, lowering the ISO rating and reducing property insurance costs, and continuing to provide excellent police and fire protection for the community.

“As mayor and town council, it is our goal through the fiscal year 2022 to continue building infrastructure and laying the ground work to secure the needs of future generations,” said Kelley.

As the mayor pointed out, the new budget includes funding for the purchase of a pumper truck for the Fire Department and two tandem dump trucks for the Public Works Department through a capital outlay note, as well as four additional vehicles for various departments.

The new budget also features pay increases and benefits for town employees.

“The town’s most valuable asset is our employees,” said the mayor. “The 2022 budget provides for a 30-cent-per-hour employee raise on July 1 and the continuation of employee benefits, including $8,500 per employee for insurance premiums and funding for the employee’s health savings account and life insurance coverage in the amount of $50,000.”

Councilman Tim Tucker made the motion to approve the new budget on the first reading with a second by Councilman Andrew Maddox and unanimous approval from the council.

The council was scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, June 22 to give final approval to the budget, though details from that meeting were not available at press time.

If passed on a second reading, the new budget will include the following estimated revenues over expenditures in the following funds: $5,300,550 over $5,296,230 in the General Fund, $9,050 over $21,550 in the Drug Control Fund, $265,000 over the same in the Solid Waste Collection Fund, $678,550 over $678,400 in the Special Project Fund, and $3,550,450 over $2,582,600 in the Utility Fund.

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Water/sewer rates to increase

An ordinance authorizing a 3.6 percent overall increase on water/sewer rates for Huntingdon customers was also approved on a first reading to go into effect in July of this year.

The rates are going up to reflect a cost of living adjustment based on Consumer Price Index figures from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The new rates for water usage inside the city limits will be $4.20 per $1,000 gallons and $5.83 per 1,000 gallons outside city limits.

Minimum monthly water bills will be $13.91 for 5/8” meters, $37.01 for 1” meters, $73.98 for 1 ½” meters, $118.38 for 2” meters, $517.94 for 3” meters, and $1,479.81 for 4” meters.

New sewer rates will be $6.59 per 1,000 gallons in the city and $8.15 outside the city.

The ordinance sets minimum monthly sewer bills at $13.90 for 5/8” meters, $34.77 for 1” meters, $69.53 for 1 ½” meters, $111.25 for 2” meters, $486.65 for 3” meters, and $1,390.42 for 4” meters.

The council was also scheduled to hold a second-reading vote on this ordinance on June 22.

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In other business, the council gave first-reading approval to an ordinance authorizing a number of line-item amendments to the current 2020-21 fiscal year budget as a matter of year-end financial management.

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