Town council plans to pay off building debt, fund urban forester
The Stallings town council voted unanimously on Monday, June 27 to approve the budget developed for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The council collaborated to finalize what Mayor Lynda Paxton called the “easiest budget session” she’d seen in recent years, which would include retiring the debt from the town hall loan.
The town hall, built over six years ago, was financed for a 15-year period. The council determined that an early payoff of the building loan would save the town from paying over $100,000 in interest fees and allow additional funds to be included in future budgets. The total estimated payoff amount is approximately $785,000.
The town was able to save nearly $200,000 in solid waste collection expenses by signing a new contract with a different provider. This favorable new contract would provide citizens with the same quality of waste collection they have been receiving, while supplying them with new provisions, including year-round yard debris pickup and additional recycling services.
The budget also includes funding for continuing improvements of the municipal park, street maintenance, and a streetscape and beautification project for the Stallings Road/Potter Road intersection.
One amendment made to the budget included allotting funds to continue to supply the town with an urban forester. In the past, Union County partnered with county municipalities to continue financing the position, which was made possible by a previous grant. Stallings, along with other municipalities, decided to help fund the urban forester and entered into an agreement, which was due to expire June 30.
Prior to the meeting, town manager Brian Matthews sent out a memo to the mayor and town council members, stating that the county had requested that the agreement be renewed and Stallings continue to share the cost of funding the urban forester position. The cost for Stallings would be $2,811.99, which is the same as last fiscal year.
Matthews addressed the council at the meeting, referencing the assistance the town has received from the urban forester on landscaping and horticulture questions, and urged the council to approve continued funding for this position. “It’s a small amount, considering the expertise you get out of it,” said Matthews.
The council voted unanimously to approve funding the urban forester position, with Mayor Pro-tem Wyatt Dunn requesting that the town keep track of the position’s service hours during the upcoming fiscal year to weigh the value of the expense. “If we can monitor how many hours, I’ll support it this year,” said Dunn.
The final budget passed unanimously, and no objections or comments were given during the public forum prior to the voting. “For the most part, I think it’s one of the simplest budgets we’ve had in a long time,” said Matthews.