The Matthews Town Board of Commissioners received the proposed Fiscal Year 2010-2011 budget from Town Manager Hazen Blodgett during their meeting tonight. This budget focuses on maintaining current services for citizens during the continued economic recession.

The proposed budget for the Town would be $17,747,896. This is $210,421 less than the 2009-10 budget. There are no proposed tax or fee increases in the budget. The current tax rate will remain at .3325 cents per $100 valuation. “In this budget we have deferred and delayed important items including awarding employee merit raises, purchasing fewer police vehicles and other capital items, left open positions unfunded, and decreased staff training for the second year in a row. While we all recognize during these tough times this is the proper course of action, over time these cutbacks will impact our ability to provide government services,” said Matthews Town Manager Hazen Blodgett.

The budget does include using $314,237 from the Fund Balance to cover budget items. The Fund Balance is the Town’s savings account or “Rainy Day” fund. All municipal budgets are similar to the average person’s budget. The Town has a “checking account” – the General Fund and a “savings account” – the Fund Balance. In North Carolina laws are in place that ensures that every town has a healthy Fund Balance. Thus, the Town is able to use this account when times such as this economic recession necessitate.

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Highlights of this year’s budget include:

· No tax or fee increases.

· No employee merit raises.

· Vacated positions remain unfunded.

· Continued implementation of the Town’s Strategic Framework which will ensure resources are best allocated in order to achieve the Town’s goals.

· Reduction in operating expenses in all town departments for the second year

· Employee share of health insurance contribution remain at 2009-2010 levels. Considering self funded insurance program – have a partially self funded plan at this time.

· Capital Improvements Plan continues to be funded at $300,000.

Departmental Highlights

General Administration – This includes the Governing Board, Manager, Human Resources, Finance, IT, and Safety/Risk Management.

· Out of Town Board planning conference eliminated;

· $2,000 On-line citizen survey- normally $6,500;

· Continue Strategic Planning process;

· $62,000 for lobbyist included for twelve months;

· Implementing an Employee Innovation Initiative- $2,500;

· Customer Service Initiative- $5,000;

· Cleaning Contract reduced to 2-days per week;

· $6,000 for repair and painting Town Hall building columns;

· $15,000 for computer hardware replacement and repair. Lower than FY 09 levels.

Police

· Current staffing levels maintained;

· Operational expenses were reduced;

· One police vehicle and associated equipment to be replaced;

· Records Clerk position remains unfunded.

Fire and EMS

· Increased volunteer incentives by $44,000 to $140,000;

· Idlewild VFD contribution reduced by $4,622. Same percent reduction as Matthews Fire and EMS;

· Self-contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) bottles- $14,000.

Public Works

· $330,000 for road paving; $20,000 less than FY10 but matches projected tag fee revenues;

· $25,000 for initial work on Comprehensive Transportation Plan;

· Reduction of office staff from two to one position;

· Currently, department has four unfunded positions.

Planning and Development Department

· Reduced operating expenses;

· Land use plan, downtown master plan, and UDO underway;

· Code Enforcement Officer position is unfunded.

Economic Development

· Reduced operating expenses;

· Implementation of Economic Development plan through limited marketing activities;

· Economic Development director’s position not funded;

· Budgeted amount $75,000 less than budgeted in FY 09.

Parks and Recreation

· Reduced operating expenses;

· Existing program levels to remain;

· $5,000 for Senior Center;

· Tourism Grants increased by $5,000 to $65,000.

A public hearing will be held on the budget on May 24 at 7 p.m. and the Town Board of Commissioners will vote on it prior to June 30, 2010.