FAIRMONT — The town Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved a budget for the fiscal year that begins Sunday that keepts the tax rate of 73 cents for every $100 property but includes a sanitation rate increase of $2 per month.
The increase was proposed to help offset rising fuel costs and rate increases from Waste Management, a private company that handles trash pickup for the town.
The budget does not include a cost-of-living increase for town employees, who have not been given a raise for five years.
“We’re very fortunate in this town to have the quality of employees we have,” Mayor Charles Kemp said. “For them to not have been disgruntled and stay with us for the last five years is absolutely incredible.”
Commissioner J.J. McCree proposed that the board revisit the option of a cost-of-living increase for employees once the town receives licensing fees from a business set to open next week. Walter Jones, who has gaming machines in Fayetteville and Dublin, is expected to place 50 Internet gaming machines in a building that used to house Dollar General in the Bo’s Shopping Center.
Town officials expect the licensing fees to boost the town’s General Fund by more than $45,000.
“I would like to, maybe around September or October, whenever things start coming in and leveling off, see if we can do something for the employees,” McCree said.
Town Manager Linda Vause agreed that the possibility of a salary increase should be discussed, but was hesitant to base a raise on revenue that may be cut off if Internet gaming machines are declared illegal by the General Assembly.
“I don’t consider the gaming money a continuous flow of revenue,” she said. “The state didn’t touch it this year, but who’s to say what’s going to happen next year?”
Commissioner Wade Sealey proposed disbursing money to employees as holiday bonuses.
“We all should be very proud of the quality of employees that we have here,” Kemp said. “Maybe we can do something down the road to right some of that ship.”
Also on Thursday, the board:
— Approved a write-off of uncollected water accounts for 2011-2012 in the amount of $2,367.60.
— Approved a write-off of uncollected property taxes in the amount of $1,300.66.
Commissioner Charles Townsend was absent.