Tryon considers cutting trash pick-up to one day per week

Published 1:27 pm Friday, June 12, 2009

Tryon&squo;s leaf machine is approximately 20 years old and it takes several thousand dollars per year to keep it running. Council learned that Saluda is willing to sell its two-year-old leaf machine for less than half of what a new machine costs.

Other issues the town council has been discussing are whether or not to share a town planner with the Town of Columbus. Tryon has about $20,000 budgeted for next year to pay its current planners and code enforcement contract with Benchmark, but council is now looking at splitting the costs with Columbus and having a planner in town for two and a half days per week.

Other issues on the table are how to increase the town&squo;s water rates to reduce a projected $140,671 deficit for next year. Tryon&39;s public water sales are down this year between 17 and 18 percent. Interim town manager Justin Hembree has told council that some limited action can be taken on the expenditure side of the water fund, but unless major cuts are made to personnel and operations, there will have to be some type of adjustment to the rate structure.

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The current proposed general fund budget projects a slight increase in the town&squo;s property tax revenue at almost $17,000. The current proposal is for a 48.35 cent tax rate per $100 of valuation, up from 47.19 cents which would be the town&squo;s revenue neutral tax rate following the recent property revaluation.

The town is anticipating extra revenue from property taxes, but major decreases in other revenue line items, such as sales tax. Most town departments are looking at major budget cuts, including a $90,000 reduction for the police department. No salary increases are proposed for next year nor capital purchases such as police vehicles.

The town is still proposing Christmas merit bonuses as employees received this fiscal year, but employees also did not receive salary increases this year.

Tryon has scheduled a public hearing and further discussions on the budget for next Tuesday&squo;s regular town meeting at 7 p.m. at the Tryon Fire Department. A special meeting will likely be called later this month for council to approve the budget.