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South Boston proposes meals-tax hike, anticipates rising fuel costs / March 31, 2011
The Town of South Boston’s proposed $9.4 million budget for the coming fiscal year includes a 1 percent hike in the meals tax – taking that up to 4 percent – for a $250,000 projected increase.

That increased tax revenue would go to:

• The tourism department and its coming visitors center ($92,000, an increase of $54,000)

• the Main Street Program ($94,000)

• Town beautification ($10,000 in new LED Christmas lights)

• Debt service on capital borrowing for the Community Center at the old Washington-Coleman Elementary ($54,000)

Otherwise, the budget shows a 3.51 percent decrease in revenue from the current budget.

Other significant changes or line-item costs for 2011-12 include:

•Gas and oil, all line items up 75 percent in anticipation of rising fuel costs ($241,800, up $103,700)

• Street maintenance (up $240,000)

• Equipment and vehicle leases for the public works department ($145,100 and interest of $71,000)

• Police vehicle lease-to-purchases ($94,000)

• Line-of-duty premiums passed down from the state to localities ($8,700, but set to increase to more than $24,000 annually within four years)

The budget also calls for using $184,000 in prior-year income for priority stormwater repairs and upgrades ($165,000) and new carpet for the South Boston Library ($25,000).

One Town job would be eliminated, and that person would be offered a transfer within the Town, saving $54,000 and transferring about $15,000 to another department.

Personnel costs shrink by 2.14 percent.

There are no health insurance premium changes.

The finance committee will discuss the proposed budget again immediately after the April 11 Council meeting.

In other business at its Monday work session, Council agreed to apply for a Virginia Department of Transportation revenue-sharing grant program. The grants require matching funds, but would help pay for road projects.

They also heard a monthly budget report from Finance Director Erle Scott, who said year-to-date general revenues, at 71 percent, are running ahead of expenditures, at 66 percent.

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