By Shawn Stinson
FRANKLIN – The members of the Town of Franklin council discussed a vacant water operator position and other items at their latest meeting.
Council members Kristin Dingess, Genevieve Glover, Clay Richardson and Edwin Wimer were in attendance at the March 8 meeting. Bob Horan, mayor, and Bruce Minor, recorder, also were at the meeting. Laura Brown was the lone council member not present.
The council members briefly talked about the difficulty of filling the vacant water operator position. Horan informed the council members there have been advertisements for the position. He added there was one qualified applicant but he declined to accept the position.
The council members unanimously voted to go into an executive session to discuss personnel issues. When they returned to the regular meeting, they approved a $1 an hour salary increase for town employees. The raise was scheduled to go into effect on March 11.
In other action, Kim Ruddle, an employee with Region 8, addressed the council members regarding the group’s GIS services available for municipalities. Ruddle said she is working with Capon Bridge officials to map the town’s water system. No action was taken by the council members regarding the offer from Region 8 officials at this time.
Town attorney Jonie E. Nelson discussed a sewer easement regarding town residents. Council members approved the easements as presented at the meeting.
Nelson also discussed joint easements for cell towers and water tanks. She said the easements were for the IWG tower company for the cell tower on Anderson Hill and American tower on the property owned by Rick Gillespie. She inquired if the council members were interested in contacting the cell tower companies and property owners to continue the easements and right of ways to access the towers and water tanks. The council members unanimously approved to authorize Nelson to pursue the agreements.
The council members discussed changes in the by-laws with the Chamber of Commerce and Pendleton County Visitors and Convention Bureau. The changes would permit non-voting members of the board to become voting members. The council members approved the town’s representative, Elizabeth Scott, to remain on the two boards as a voting member. Dingess recused herself from the vote due to her role with the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Frank Wehrle, town manager, submitted the monthly financial statement for approval. He informed the council members that “by and large most of the funds are doing fairly well for this time of year.” He added there was a significant payment from the board of parks fund due to the delivery and installation of the bleachers at the town park. The council members unanimously accepted the statement.
Wehrle reminded the council members that March 24 is the deadline for candidate filing. He said the filing fee is $5 and the election is set for June 14.
The minutes from the Jan. 11 meeting as well as the Jan. 31 special meeting were accepted with minor corrections. The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 12 at the town office.
COUNCIL MEMBERS APPROVE PROPOSED BUDGET
The council members met prior to the regularly scheduled meeting to discuss the proposed levy estimate for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
The levy rate for Class I personal property and public utility is 12.5 cents per $100. There are no personal property or public utility in that class in the town limits. The levy rate for Class II real estate and personal property is 25 cents per $100. The town is expected to generate a total of $48,486 ($48,423 in taxes from real estate and $63 in personal property in Class II). The levy rate for Class IV real estate, personal property and public utility in the town limits is 50 cents per $100. The town is expected to receive $54,944 in real estate, $29,434 in person property and $11,993 in public utility. A total of $144,857 in Class IV taxes is anticipated.
There is an expected 5% in delinquencies, exonerations and uncollectable taxes, a total of $7,243 and another 2% in tax discounts, a total of $2,752. The total projected property tax collection is $134,862. There is also a 2% assessor valuation fund expense of $2,697. The total amount expected to be collected in taxes is $132,165.
The next largest revenue for the town is refuse collection, which is expected to generate $85,000. Excise tax on utilities is expected to generate nearly $49,000 for the town.
The town’s total proposed revenue for the upcoming fiscal year is $369,065. The town’s budget is also $369,065. The largest expected expenditure is for city hall, approximately $187,500.
The council members unanimously approved the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.