WESLEY CHAPEL – As the village of Wesley Chapel prepares to host a public hearing and vote on its budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, the council is expanding funds for two major areas: the future Dogwood Park and the contract deputy.
The village council hopes to break ground on its first municipal park, Dogwood Park, later this year. Because this is uncharted territory for Wesley Chapel, new adjustments were made to the budget to cover the necessary requirements for the park’s maintenance.
Village finance officer Cheryl Bennett said this is the first year Wesley Chapel has hired someone to work for the park. The village plans to allocate $2,520 to pay for a part-time maintenance worker to help with the upkeep of the park.
Other new park expenditures include $3,000 for the stocking of fish in the pond, $600 for janitorial supplies, $1,000 for pesticide treatments, $2,000 for tree removal services, $2,000 for repairs to structures, $2,340 for temporary restroom facilities and other projects.
The council also requested $24,400 for the first park and recreation capital outlay to cover new expenditures – structural improvements, a Redbox program, tools and equipment, furnishings and others.
The entire proposed budget for parks and recreation for the 2012-13 budget is $58,679.
“That’s with the park only being open six months, so it’ll be a lot more next year,” Bennett said.
Mayor Brad Horvath said the council isn’t worried about the increase in park and recreation expenditures.
“We are aware that it does put a little more stress on the budget, but we are still certainly operating with a surplus and should be able to continue doing that,” Horvath said.
The other area that’s seeing a considerable increase is the funding for law enforcement. The council decided last year to allocate funds to cover a contract deputy, for which the village pays a certain amount to the county each year.
During the last fiscal year, A.J. Mainero, the village’s contract deputy, was only employed for the final seven months, and the village paid only $42,510 to the county for the services. The cost will increase to $77,387 to cover an entire year of Mainero’s services.
Wesley Chapel is allocating a smaller increase to the budget for another employee – the town’s administrative assistant. Because the administrative assistant is now taking on both the role of handling privilege licenses and the duty of grant writing, the council plans to approve a $5,615 increase to cover the extra hours the position will require. The entire budget for the position is $10,920.
“Now that we’ve expanded the (administrative assistant) position to a grant writer position, we’ve now added an additional six to eight hours a week for a total of 12 to 18 hours a week,” Horvath said.
So far, Horvath has heard two comments from residents about the budget: a “thank you” for not increasing taxes and an urge to keep government small.
The total proposed budget for the town is $764,768, which is more than $200,000 less than last year. The current and proposed tax rate is 1.65 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
“We’re doing what we can within the confines of our budget to keep the tax rate as low as we can, but still provide the things that the citizens want,” Horvath said. “Wesley Chapel has stayed small, whereas other groups have increased employees. I’m never gonna say never (on increasing government), but we try to keep it that way. If we decide to do more things, we’ll have to look at it.”
A public hearing for the 2012-13 budget is scheduled for June 11 at 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall of the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, 120 Potter Road South, Wesley Chapel.