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South Boston closes books on 2013-14 budget

SoVaNow.com / July 31, 2014
South Boston Town Council on Monday evening heard Finance Director Erle Scott review the Town’s financial figures on June 30, the end of the Town’s FY2013-14 budget year.

Scott reported that the town had taken in 95 percent ($9.749,189) of its budgeted $10,219,338 revenues while having to expend 101 percent or $10,275,457. The good news, however, was that it only had to use $526,268 of its reserve funds rather than the $1.3 million earlier projected to be needed to complete the budget year.

Scott pointed to two items that had helped the budget, the first being $220,000 in VDOT revenue sharing money that was carried over from the previous year and the other was the $244,274.51 collected from delinquent taxes. That amount was some $120,000 more than had been budgeted ($124,300) for delinquent tax collections for the year.

Of the eight sources of general fund revenues, all except one had met or exceeded budgeted amounts. The one exception was in the collection of real estate taxes of which 99 percent or $852,033 was collected of the budgeted $860,000.

“This has been a challenging budget, trying to get our revenues in while trying to keep our expenses down,” Scott said.

Personal property tax collections came in at 111 percent ($518,436), above the budgeted $465,000). Also coming in over budget were the occupancy tax at 127 percent ($146,193) versus the budgeted $115,000 and the business license tax of $592,181 (budgeted at $490,000) or at 121 percent.

Scott told council that the FY2014-15 budget call for the town to pay dues to seven organizations which total $20,452 while donations to ten other agencies total $443,846 with another $1,350 in other sports donations.

Members of the Current Issues Committee heard South Boston Fire Chief Steve Phillips discuss the new ISO Public Protection Classification Rating which, the chief said, should help homeowners and business owners by slightly lowering their fire insurance premiums. Phillips explained that the town worked hard on certain requirements that the program bases its classifications on such as the company’s fire-loss experience which is based on the amount of water necessary for fire suppression purposed as well as the local emergency communications and dispatch system. Also considered are the equipment, staffing and training of fire department members as well as the available water supply. South Boston has a rating in the 4’s, based on a 10 point system with a one being the best. However, Phillips was quick to point out that in order to get a classification of one, the town would have to buy a lot of back-up equipment which it cannot afford to do and which he felt would not be necessary. The town’s classification has improved from a 5 plus classification to the current 4 point level, he noted.

Town Manager Tim Wilson advised Council members that he has met with the owner of the Greens Folly Crossing Shopping Center, A. B. Jones Jr. who has agreed to install addition screening of a single row of evergreen trees planted behind his center.

The action comes after Nita Payne complained to council last month that the fencing which has been placed at the rear of the center was not adequate to protect her residential property which lies behind the center. Wilson said Jones expects to plant the trees in the fall when the season for planting is most advantageous.

In other business members were asked to consider appointments to the Halifax Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Town Clerk Jane Jones advised that she has a list of three people who are interested in serving on the recreation committee — Robert D. Fountain, Ronnie Pate and Melvin Womack Jr.

After Carol Foster resigned from the Library Board, one resident, Melvin Womack Jr. has expressed an interest in serving and filling the term of Foster, which ends June 30, 2015 .

Members also agreed to allow Christopher Davis to continue serving on the town’s Planning Commission, provided he attends meetings more regularly than he has in the past. His record shows that in the past he attended only 38 percent of the Commission’s meetings.

By-laws of the Commission say that the Town Council may be asked to review a commissioner’s appointment if he misses more than three meetings in a 12 month period (which Davis had done).

Davis has advised Council members that the cause of his absences has been corrected and he expects to be present for future meetings.

The town’s Volunteer Bank has the names of five people who will be willing to serve on the Planning Commission if Davis does not comply with Council’s instructions — Rev. David Cline, Ronnie Pate, Roger Thaxton Jr., William C. Wilborn Sr. and Melvin Womack Jr.

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