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No new taxes in $400,000 budget

WESSON – The board of aldermen on Monday approved a budget ofalmost $400,000 for fiscal 2005 that holds the line on citytaxes.

During the brief meeting, the three aldermen present votedunanimously to approve the budget. Verbal approval came last weekfrom the two absent aldermen, Robert Derrick and David Douglas.

The projected revenue for next year is $406,658, while expensesare expected to be $399,653.

The town’s millage rate of 26.25 will not change, bringing norise in taxes for residents or business owners.

Aldermen also announced town employees will not receive a raisein the 2005 fiscal year.

“We really stepped back from salaries,” said Alderman HollisCowen Jr. “We didn’t give any raises, and we’ve done thatpreviously.”

The majority of the town’s expense will be salaries. Of that,$75,000 is budgeted for government officials, $128,000 for thepolice department, $73,000 for the water department and $30,000 forthe street department.

Other major expenses include $10,000 for retirement and a littleover $8,000 for health insurance for police department employeesand approximately $16,000 for health insurance for water departmentemployees. Also included in the general expenditures was $4,000 fortravel – up from $3,200 last year – and $14,000 for legal andauditing fees and more than $18,000 for utilities.

Expenses in the fiscal 2004 budget were almost identical to thebudget for the coming fiscal year. The few changes were based onincreases in state costs, health insurance costs and the additionof new employees.

On the revenue side, the town projected water funds willincrease $12,000, sales tax $9,000 and franchise taxes $4,000,while it projected fines and forfeitures will decrease $5,000.