Wytheville City Council will hold a public budget hearing on Monday | Community
The City of Wytheville is considering a budget of approximately $34 million for fiscal year 2023, an increase of approximately $10 million from the current year’s budget. City Council will hold a public hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 13, in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building at 150 E. Monroe Street.
The town hall is not proposing any tax increases. However, he expects an increase of about $1 million in the Meals and Lodging Tax adjusted to pre-pandemic levels and some growth in the current fiscal year.
The biggest bump in the budget is for water and sewage improvements. The proposed allocation for the water fund is $7.6 million, compared to $3.8 million in the current year. The proposed sewage fund allocation is $5.3 million, up from $2.3 million this year.
With respect to water system improvements, the city will work in conjunction with Wythe County and other partners to complete several water improvement projects in direct response to the start-up of the Blue Star NBR and the Blue Star glove factory, and the need to keep the water level high. service levels to the city’s existing customers, said general manager Brian Freeman.
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The city manager said Blue Star is expected to begin drawing on the city’s water supply at the rate of about 450,000 gallons per day as early as the third quarter of this year, with a projected total water demand of 1.6 million gallons per day over the next five years. .
“This will require the addition of the Lots Gap storage reservoirs and a Lot 24 loop line. The total cost of these two projects is approximately $6.5 million, of which $2.5 million is provided through to grants,” Freeman said. “The remaining project costs will be funded and paid for with the sale of water to Blue Star. Future capital budgets will include a 2MGD expansion of the New River Regional Water Treatment Facility.
No increase in water rates is proposed in the budget.
The proposed upgrades to the sewage system are upgrades to the sanitary sewer system, which include the replacement of the main forcemain at Lithia Road and Industry Road.
“These lines have failed; requiring emergency repairs more than 60 times in the past year and needing to be replaced,” Freeman said.
The selection of consultants for the Lithia road portion of these projects has been completed and the design will be underway in the coming weeks. Replacement of the highway industry’s mainline could begin within weeks. The cost of this project is approximately $1 million.
The City will also complete major rehabilitation of thousands of feet of sewer lines, manholes and cleanouts to help reduce and/or eliminate the infiltration and influx of ground and surface water from of the sewage system.
“By doing so, we can reduce the operating costs associated with treating water that shouldn’t be entering the system. The cost of this project is approximately $2 million with $1 million coming from a DEQ grant,” Freeman said.
No increase in sanitary sewer rates is proposed in the budget.
In other appropriations, public safety spending will increase by approximately $800,000 as the city continues to improve its police/fire/rescue operations.
The budget also includes an increase of approximately $750,000 for the town’s community center. However, this amount could decrease once the plans for the decaying roof of the center are finalized.
Wytheville City Manager Brian Freeman said the community center’s roof was 15 years old, in poor condition and leaking in several places.
“The budget currently contains an estimated total replacement cost of $750,000; however, staff are working diligently to analyze various strategies to provide us with the best short and long-term solutions,” Freeman said. “These range from spot repairs and gradual replacement to total replacement. We have done site visits and inspections with several roofing contractors and believe we can replace the lower roof now and do spot repairs to the upper sections of the roof and get another 5-10 years out of it. This will be finalized in the coming weeks and is expected to halve this line item before the June 13 meeting. »
The budget also provides $105,000 for the conversion of a new computer system for managing finance, accounting and human resources.
Freeman said the city is currently working with 1990s technology that is extremely limited. He said the city has no analytics capability, no ability for employees to access their records, no ability to provide dynamic financial data and reports to staff, council or the public.
“It’s a cost that impacts all departments,” he said.
The budget for museums and heritage preservation includes a $300,000 increase, from $293,000 this year to $605,000 next year, for a variety of projects, including HVAC, window and lighting at the Homestead property on Tazewell Street. Another major item is approximately $175,000 to address structural issues at the Rock House Museum, which is closed to the public until the issues are resolved.
To reach journalist Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 573, or email [email protected]