Village addresses two major projects, council voices support for quality education
WESLEY CHAPEL – At an eventful meeting Monday, June 11, the Wesley Chapel village council voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
There were no changes to the budget drafted last month, which included $58,679 for parks and recreation to primarily cover construction costs for Dogwood Park, $77,387 for the village’s contract deputy, $10,920 for the town’s administrative assistant and no tax increase to the village’s current rate of 1.65 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
The village’s entire budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $764,768.
“There’s no increase in tax, the budget was pretty well straight forward and we’re sticking within the budget that we laid out,” Mayor Brad Horvath said.
At the meeting, the council announced a finalized agreement between Wesley Chapel and Aston Properties that will bring a shared access road between the two leading from Highway 84 to the future town hall.
The agreement will require Wesley Chapel to cover 32.3 percent of the cost of the access road, while Aston will fund the remaining 67.7 percent. A cap will be placed on the project, preventing Wesley Chapel from paying more than $35,000 for the project.
Now that the agreement has been signed, designs for the access road can be completed. That allows the village to go about securing the conditional use permit and request for proposal needed to begin construction of the town hall.
The council also discussed plans Monday to hire a renovation engineer to study the house located on the Dogwood Park property. The house, built in 1973, is a 2-story home, measuring about 4,000 square feet, excluding the basement. Council members have discussed using the house for various park amenities, but it needs some improvements before it can be opened to the public.
The purpose of the renovation study is to get a more accurate estimate of how much it will cost to bring the house up to code so the public could safely enter.
One of the main reasons the council approved the study is to see if the house could possibly be used for restroom facilities and, if so, how much that would cost. In the meantime, the village has planned to use portable restrooms to meet that need.
“(Using portable restrooms) wasn’t something we really wanted to do, but from estimates we got it was as high as $80,000 to build a separate facility,” Horvath said.
The study plans to examine how the public could use the house for restrooms while the rest of the house is closed off. Horvath mentioned possibly turning the garage into a restroom facility, which would allow the village to successfully close off the rest of the house.
“The council has already talked about getting a better number so we’ll at least know how much (that will cost),” Horvath said. “I’m not saying (restrooms in the house) will be available for use when park opens, but we definitely need a restroom solution by the time the park opens.”
The village also publicly declared its support for county schools by approving a resolution that will officially ask the county commissioners, the Union County Board of Education and the state of North Carolina to work together to preserve quality education among the schools.
“We really need to make them aware that we’re watching,” Horvath said. “We’re concerned that Union County continues its standard of high quality education and schools.”
A line in the resolution states, “We cannot provide for the future of our communities if we fail in our current responsibilities to our children, while ensuring we do so in a fiscally prudent manner. This must be our highest priority.”
The resolution was originally written addressing just the county commissioners and the board of education, but it was amended to include the state as well.
“We felt the state played an important part as well,” Village Administrator Cheryl Bennett said.
Horvath said the resolution was inspired by a combination of the recent actions of neighboring municipalities who have issued their own resolutions and the village’s desire for good schools to influence the quality of life in Wesley Chapel.
“It keeps home values up and affects the quality of commercialism,” Horvath said. “We’re not suggesting a solution because we don’t know all the ins and outs. The side we’re taking is of the students and the families. It’ll be a win-win for us if they can figure out (a solution), and I honestly think they can.”