Mayor’s Notes from the April 16th Stuart Town Council Meeting
- The Town’s 2014 – 2015 budget was proposed during the meeting. The proposed budget included NO increases of utilities fees, taxes, or increases in any of the Town’s current revenue streams.
- The proposed budget did include step adjustments to all Town employees. The increase will be an average of 4% overall with no employee receiving less than a 3% raise. The raises are based on how the Town employee pay rates compare to other Towns in the area that may be considered on equal or near equal footing economically with Stuart. Many of our employees were found to be behind in terms of pay for equal or similar type jobs. This raise is an attempt to get our employees closer to average in pay rate for those jobs.
- Last year’s budget was $1,562,300 The proposed budget is $1,580,800 which is an overall increase of $18,500. This increase was made possible by cost savings by our Town Manager and Town employees, which included certain operational changes required by Sewer Treatment Plant personnel that have improved plant efficiency and reduced the need for costly repairs. The sewer Plant is currently in need of equipment repair, replacement, and upgrades. The operational changes create more work for sewer plant operators, but it keeps the plant operating within parameters and with fewer breakdowns. Hopefully, this will keep the sewer plant operating properly until the needed Sewer Treatment Plant Upgrade Project is completed.
Fire Department Project
- The Fire Department Committee had a meeting on Tuesday night (4/15/2014) and interviewed three of the top engineering and architectural firms (as determined from the previous committee meeting). The committee found Hughes Associates Architects & Engineers to be the best firm for the design of the new Fire Department. Hughes Associates have extensive experience in the design and building of Fire Departments, they have designed more than 200 Fire Departments in Virginia, North Carolina, and surrounding areas. The first step in the process for this project should be the site work to prepare for the building footprint.
Sewer Treatment Plant Upgrade Project
- The Town did receive a $30,000 Planning Grant from USDA to begin the planning of our Sewer Treatment Plant upgrade. The upgrade will be designed as a three phase project with Phase I covering our most needed equipment upgrades (aeration basins, air compressors, grinder pumps, and aeration bubbler arrays). Phase II will include other equipment that have reduced efficiency, frequent breakdowns, or near the end their respective service life (sludge press and some sewer line replacement). Phase III will include some new sewer lines in the Town and an equalization basin where all influent to the sewer plant will enter and begin a pre-aeration process with mixing to create a more stable and consistent influent that would enhance the overall plant capability and capacity. Once the planning is complete and we submit the project to USDA they should make an offer of a combination of grant funding and loan package. Hopefully we will be able to combine that with grant funding from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification And Community Revitalization Commission that the County is helping us apply for.