MAN, W.Va. — Longtime Town Accountant Jeff Valet discussed the upcoming 2016-17 fiscal year budget with members of the Town of Man council Monday night.
Valet noted that with the state’s tax revenues being $400 million in the hole due to thousands of coal miners being laid off and many coal mines being idled that funds were tight across the state.
Valet explained that the new budget, which runs from the fiscal year from June to July of next year, was based on last year’s budget with some tweaking.
“Our expenses are adjusted based on the town’s history,” Valet explained noting that when completed and approved it had to be forwarded to the state and then a special meeting would be held where the council officially laid the levy on the third Tuesday in April. There is $25,000 in one account and $35,000 in another to pay the towns bills through July 1.
Valet noted that taxes were up this year and noted there were new businesses in town. He also noted the town would have to increase the Business and Occupation Tax in order to keep providing the same town services and not lay any employees off.
“This budget is 103 percent of what last year’s was,” he said.
Valet pointed out that the town of Man has the lowest B&O taxes in the county and that they had not been raised in years.
“We will have to do something,” he said of a B&O tax raise. “Currently our taxes are significantly lower than Logan’s.”
Valet said an increase in the town’s municipal fees might also be in order. “They have not been raised in many years either,” he added. “It is important to note this budget has no fat, no meat in it. It is down to the bone.”
Longtime town council member Mavis Toler noted the town council usually met at noon on the third Tuesday to lay the levy, which all municipalities must do. “It usually takes about five minutes,” she said.
Valet said the town would have to wait to address an unfunded mandate from the state to provide a different secondary water source to the residents of the area.
“There is no action we have to take at this time,” Valet said. “It would be nice to have a separate waterline to a different supply source, but we have lived through this before. Through floods, disasters and slurry spills we seldom had to turn the water supply off. All we have to do is adopt a plan in June.”
Valet said the town had other water problems including aging lines that were losing both pressure and water, as well as old meters that needed to be replaced.
“There is no money right now for a secondary water supply,” Valet said. “It is not a bad idea to have a back-up water supply but this is an unfunded mandate.”
Councilman John Fekete said he had been approached by a resident who was upset with several apparently abandoned vehicles located in and around the town. Fekete said some had no tags and at least one was up on blocks. He noted the town had an ordinance against leaving such vehicles in that condition. Lt. Danny Brown of the Man Police Department said he knew of at least three such automobiles located at the Junior High School.
J.D. Charles is a freelance writer and a former reporter for The Logan Banner.