Cedar Fort adopts 2018-2019 budget
CEDAR FORT -- After a public hearing on the proposed 2018-2019 budget on June 14, 2018, the Cedar Fort Town Council conducted their monthly Town Council meeting and adopted the budget. The balanced budget projects operating expenses for the town of $97,450. The coming fiscal year's budget includes a pay increase for the town's four employees -- clerk, treasurer, water superintendent and groundskeeper.
Of the three town residents who spoke during the public hearing, two spoke in favor of the pay increase for town employees. Town Treasurer Ashley Cook said that the pay increase would benefit not only the employees, but also help the town retain well-qualified people in town jobs. During the Town Council meeting, the Council passed the employee pay increase unanimously, with Councilman Wyatt Cook abstaining because his wife is employed by the town as Town Treasurer.
Mayor David Gustin said that the town employees are still "grossly underpaid" for the vital work they perform. Their work is "very much part pay and part volunteer," Gustin said. All of Cedar Fort's elected officials serve as unpaid volunteers. Gustin said that he supports the policy of not paying the town's elected officials. Besides lowering the budget, it helps prevent corruption, he said.
Along with adopting the budget, the Town Council voted unanimously to certify the current property tax rate of .000817. Mayor Gustin said that Cedar Fort residents will most likely see an increase in their property taxes this year due to increased assessed property values, but the town tax rate will remain the same.
In other business, the Town Council voted unanimously to spend $1,000 and an additional $35 per month for a video surveillance system for the town's water source and a tank water-level sensor. The updated surveillance will hopefully deter future destruction of the fences and unauthorized entry into the sensitive area surrounding the water source. The water tank sensor will alert the water superintendent remotely if the water-level in the tank gets too low. According to Water Superintendent Jerry Lamoreaux, the upgrades will help ensure the health and welfare of the community.
Reversing a motion that failed to pass in the May 24 council meeting, the Town Council voted three to two to place a recycling container on the west side of the Cedar Fort Town Park. Councilwoman Ellen Cibula, the council member over garbage collection, requested that the recycling option be included on the June agenda because she was not in attendance in May to vote on the issue. This time, the motion to install the recycling bin carried with council members Cibula, Richard Stark and Mayor Gustin voting in favor, and council members Wyatt Cook and Harold Draper voting against. The recycling bin will collect cardboard, metal and plastic and be emptied every two weeks for a trial period of up to six months. Gustin said he hopes town residents will make the effort to recycle for the sake of the environment and also to reduce the town's regular dumping fees.
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