Elkins City Council approved its $4.3 million budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year during a special call meeting Monday night. The only change made by council was the amount budgeted for the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission.
In the current year, the city approved the expenditure of $4,125,753.41 and is projecting to receive $4,377,189 in revenue. For the upcoming budget, the city is expecting to receive and expend $4,361,3167.70. When the city submits its annual budget, it must be balanced.
The budget also includes a 55-cent pay raise for general fund employees. Finance Committee Chairman and Councilman Bob Woolwine, 1st Ward, said the raise will cost the city 69 cents per hour because of the benefit package.
"Employees receiving increases as a result of the pay and compensation study are included in this proposal," Woolwine said in a memo given to council members prior to the meeting Monday. "Employees as well as supervisors suggested this arrangement would be more equitable rather than a percentage of the base wage. It is anticipated that the various enterprise fund commissions will follow the same wage increase recommendations of this budget. There are no increases proposed for elected officials."
Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader received a $4,204.80 salary increase with the adopted budget.
"The proposed fire department rank structure was part of the fire department budget," Woolwine wrote in the memo. "The committee included the increased cost in the proposal, but approval of the structure itself may be presented to council at a later date after additional information is gathered and reviewed by the various committees of council."
The city will contribute $450,850 to outside agencies, but fell short of the requested amount of $515,792.
"We wanted to show the city's support for these entities, but given the current economic uncertainty we are facing, we were unable to meet the full requested amounts," Woolwine said in the memo.
Councilman Van Broughton, 2nd Ward, questioned council to why the request for $210,000 from the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission was cut to $200,000 in the budget. In the current fiscal year, EPRC was given $210,000.
"We asked for $210,000, but was only given $200,000," Broughton said. "How come we couldn't get as much as we did last year."
Hensil said the amount of indirect costs that parks pays to the general fund was reduced by nearly $5,000 so the contribution was only reduced by $5,000 from the current budget.
"For those departments who asked for the same amount or money actually received less," Woolwine said.
Broughton said the extra money was needed because there is no public restroom in Glendale or Riverbend parks.
"We have almost 60 acres with no public restroom," he said. "We can't host any event at Glendale. I am asking council to find the money."
Councilmen Mark Scott, 3rd Ward, and Joe Sabatino, 5th Ward, both agreed with Broughton that the extra money was needed.
"I would hate to see this project fall because of $10,000," Scott said. "If there is anywhere to find these funds we should."
After looking at the budget, Scott asked why there was $22,500 in uncommitted funds for contributions to outside organizations. Councilwoman and finance committee member Marilynn Cuonzo, 4th Ward, said $5,000 of those dollars were placed there for the Randolph County Emergency Squad. In the past the city has given $5,000 to the EMS, but no funding was requested this year.
Scott said if there was no funding requested that money could be given to the parks system. Broughton made a motion to move $5,000 from uncommitted funds to parks. The motion was seconded and a roll call vote was taken. Woolwine, Hensil and Scott voted against the measure, but it still passed six-to-three. Councilman Jim Bibey, 5th Ward, was not present during the meeting.
The following agencies were given money from the city: The Elkins-Randolph County Airport Authority, $25,000; Randolph County Health Department, $15,000; Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, $100; Elkins Welcome Center, $7,200; Randolph County Community Arts Center $5,000; Elkins Historic Landmark Commission, $7,000; Appalachian Forest Heritage, $6,000; Civil War Sesquicentennial, $400; Child Advocacy Center, $1,500; festivals, $2,000; Helping Hands Clearing House, $800; Hillbilly Hardball Classic, $1,500; Kump House, $3,000; Elkins ON TRAC, $8,600; Randolph County Development Authority, $12,000; Elkins Tree Board, $3,000; The Old Brick Playhouse, $250; The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, $9,500; the Chamber of Commerce's annual community fireworks, $3,500; Randolph County Community Arts Center, $5,000; The Elkins Public Library, $20,000; Country Roads Transportation, $15,000; and $14,500 for animal control.
The Randolph County Convention and Visitor's Bureau also will be given 50 percent of the city's hotel/motel tax. State law requires this disbursement, and the city is estimating it will receive $135,000 from the tax and $67,500 will be given to the RCCVB.
Council also approved the committee's new approach to capital outlay expenditures. The committee moved $253,910 from the various department's capital outlay budget and placed it into a "rainy day fund."
"The money would be returned to that line item for purchases, but only after proper justification and the recommendation of the Finance Committee for approval by the common council," Woolwine said. "A policy and procedure for these various line items will be submitted to council for approval in the very near future."