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South Hill moves forward towards budget approval / May 12, 2021

South Hill Town Council agreed to move forward with a final vote on the fiscal year 2021-22 town budget at its June 14 meeting, with the proviso that the budget and finance committee must meet again before the final vote to review the proposed package.

The decision came Monday during the regular meeting of South Hill Town Council.

At issue is a recommendation that the Community Development Authority (CDA) receive $155,000 for The Colonial Center of South Hill, also known as the Colonial Theater. That amount was included in the proposed appropriation for the CDA despite the express refusal of the CDA board to continue serving as the pass-through entity through which Colonial Theater operating funds are channeled.

The request for the meeting was made by Council member Gavin Honeycutt and agreed to by budget and finance committee chair Ben Taylor and Vice Mayor Mike Moody, also a member of the budget panel.

Monday night was the first chance the public had to speak on the nearly $25 million budget proposed for FY 2022, which begins July 1.

The budget is nearly evenly split between general operating and water and sewer expenses. It comes with no tax increase though there is a proposed utility rate increase for individuals or entities that use more than 50,000 gallons of water per month.

Town Manager Kim Callis said the water and sewer fund is running at a deficit to the tune of $663,429. He is proposing the town transfer $802,296 from its reserves to the water and sewer fund. The money will cover the deficit and additional costs for planned water and sewer capital project.

Most town employees will receive a five percent salary bump, though the director of municipal services, the only employee whose salary was broken out, is set to receive just over seven percent increase.

The budget includes nearly $2 million in general fund capital expenditures. These include $45,000 for a new police vehicle, $75,000 for the fire department to repair the roof on the fire station and replace firefighting hoses, $103,000 for street maintenance, $12,500 to purchase nine new dumpsters for the solid waste department, $1.5 million for a new public works building, $11,000 for seven emergency defibrillators for facilities maintenance, $5,000 for a new hydraulic press for fleet maintenance, $155,400 for new fencing at Parker Park, and $65,000 in new equipment for the parks and grounds department.

Capital expenditures from the water and sewer fund total $8.5 million and include both water and sewer infrastructure upgrades on the northside of South Hill at a cost of $6,512,700. Another $425,000 will be spent to upgrade the town’s meter reading system from manual to radio controlled, $84,000 on pump station upgrades, $281,300 to rehabilitate sewer lines, $92,000 for a new truck with a crane for the department and $33,700 for a sewer jetter and a trailer to haul a backup generator.

Just over $1.1 million will be spent on upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant.

In other business, Mayor Dean Marion read a proclamation declaring May 9-15 Police Appreciation Week.

Council members approved a request to rezone property located at 500 North Thomas Street from O-M to R1-15 and two other parcels — one at 1251 West Danville Street and a second one behind 1251 West Danville Street to MX-3 (mixed use commercial and residential) and R2-16.

They tabled a request for a special exception permit for the property at 227 West Street after neighbors shared concerns about noise and ongoing issues with the property owner refusing to shield unused or wrecked vehicles from view.

Council appropriated $2,500 received by the police department to cover the cost of storing body-worn camera video, $13,448 to support the cost of criminal justice reform and $1,627 for the fire department’s Aid to Local Families Fund.

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