The Fredonia Town Council met last week for a work meeting to discuss the 2011/2012 budget. The meeting began with a Power Point presentation given by Town Manager Dan Watson.  Watson reviewed with the council each of the budget categories. 

Beginning with revenue, Watson explained the original preliminary budget showed a much greater projected city sales tax. Upon further research, however, it was discovered the Fredonia Water Project had generated almost $50,000 in city sales tax revenue. The find caused Watson to re-evaluate and decrease the 2010/2012 projected city sales tax collections.

The budget closely mirrored that of 2010/2011 in regard to both revenue and expenditures. The biggest proposed change was salary allocations. Watson removed all salaries from the Highway User’s Fund in order to begin a road repair program. He stated, “While $100,000 is not a lot when it comes to road repairs, it can make a difference.”

The council agreed it was vital that the roads in Fredonia be taken care of.

The council requested the hydro-seeding for the recreation areas and the cemetery also be budgeted in as previously discussed.

The council was next presented with a proposal for radio read electric meters.  Office employee Kelly Hilding explained that at present, it takes three public works employees three days to complete meter reading, with an additional employee one day for re-reads.  In the office, it then takes two to four days for input and billing. With radio read electric meters, the manpower could be cut to one public works employee, one day to read and one office employee one half day for input and billing.

The council questioned the manpower savings, stating they had been presented with these types of savings before, but had not seen a decrease in manpower.

Watson explained one of the full-time positions in the office was being cut to part-time and the meter reader position vacated in 2010 had never been replaced. 

In addition, many projects are placed on the back burner during meter reading because of the time sensitive nature of billing.

The proposed meters are Master Meters, which are compatible with the system recently installed for the water meters during the Water Project. They would be read with the wand already purchased. The meters cost $130.40 plus tax. Watson said many of the current meters are beginning to fail and the change would be timely since the town is about to work on the electrical system with CDBG funds. The meters could be purchased with power company contingency funds, so it would not affect the budget.