With the annual town meeting only weeks away, the Surry Community Improvement Association (SCIA) held the first of two special meetings at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 1, to give residents a heads-up on the municipal budget. The news couldn’t have been better, because the proposed 2014 budget of $3,254,086 is down 1.2 percent.
Decreases noted in selectman Bill Matlock’s review of the budget included: general administration, down by 3.6 percent to $241,228; code enforcement, down by 9.5 percent to $15,203; parks, recreation and library, down by 6.6 percent to $37,170; education and other, which includes county tax ($142,000), general assistance ($11,370) and community service organizations ($10,400), down by 1.6 percent, and municipal capital outlay, down by 10.7 percent to $25,000. It should be noted that the proposed 2014 school budget of $2,256,395 approved last month, taken separately, is down by 2.1 percent.
There were two budget increases noted by Matlock. Public safety went up by 16.2 percent to $75,756 primarily because the number of local firefighters has increased from 11 to 24 in the past year, and all need gear and training. The budget for public works went up by 1.4 percent ($5,004) to cover a small raise for the road commissioner and fluctuation in fuel costs.
Creating the 2014 town budget was based on concern about projected federal and state cuts, explained Matlock. “As a town, we can be frugal as can be,” he said. Of the total $2,256,395 budget, it is estimated $1,748,244 will come from property taxes; the mill rate will not be set until later in the season.
Like the SCIA informational meetings, the annual town meeting will be held at the Surry Civic Center/elementary school gymnasium on Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m. Results of polling for elected officials held at the municipal building/town office on Friday, April 19, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. will be announced at the start of town meeting.