Fountain budget includes water rate increase
By DONNA MARIE WILLIAMS
The Farmville Enterprise
Saturday, June 23, 2018
FOUNTAIN — A water rate increase and more money for the rural fire department are part of Fountain’s proposed 2018-19 fiscal year budget.
Fountain commissioners met on June 12 at their final budget workshop to discuss the $1.19 million proposal.
Town Clerk Leigh Hines noted that the budget, which also included a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for the town’s five full-time employees, was balanced.
The proposal includes a 5 percent water rate increase for customers. Fountain receives its water from the town of Farmville, which is increasing its rate by 5 percent.
Fountain has absorbed water rate increases implemented by Farmville for the past two years, but cannot afford to do so a third year, according to Hines.
The town’s flat water rate or usage up to 1,000 gallons remains steady at $22 for in-town residents and $27 for out-of-town residents. The increase comes into play when consumers use more than 1,000 gallons. This rate is increasing from $7 to $7.35 for in-town residents and from $8 to $8.40 for out-of-town residents.
Funds are also included money in the budget to hire one part-time employee for the utility department at $10 an hour for 20 hours a week.
The Fountain Rural Fire Association will receive an allocation of $3,892 for utilities, plus $14,779 for its fire truck payment and $18,500 for its service agreement, totaling $37,170.
Last month, the Rural Fire Association requested an additional $6,000 for the department to help cover the cost of unpaid utility fees. To date, the association owes the town $1,953.34 in unpaid utilities.
“We did try to work you in,” said Commissioner Kathy Parker to Jonathan Landen, the secretary and treasurer of the Fountain Rural Fire Association.
The $3,892 allocation will be applied to the $1,953.34 balance. The remaining $1,938.66 will be placed in a separate line item to cover the cost of utilities until the account runs out, Hines said.
“(The $3,892) was revenues that were left over after all expenses … we gave (the fire association) the surplus,” Hines told commissioners.
The budget also includes $20,000 to replace the roof at town hall. East Carolina Roofing of Greenville is compiling an estimate to construct a roof similar to the Fountain Library.
“I think it will be less than the library … in terms of square footage,” Mayor Pro-tem Alex Albright said.
An allocation of $1,500 also is budgeted for a Fountain Friends and Family Day.
“We’re gearing up for it,” said Commissioner Doris Edwards, who requested the funding.
The board is holding a public hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Fountain Community Building, 6865 E. Wilson St. The public is encouraged to attend.
The Farmville Enterprise serves Farmville, Falkland, Fountain, Walstonburg and western Pitt County.