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East Spencer looking to approve $2.2 million budget

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

EAST SPENCER — The East Spencer Board of Aldermen is looking to approve a $2.2 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year with few capital projects that aren’t being funded by grants.

The upcoming budget is about $87,000 over the previous budget in a time where the town is looking to avoid unnecessary spending.

The board is expected to have a public hearing about the budget at its June 5 meeting.

The Fire Department’s proposed budget increased slightly, particularly with its volunteer stipends after the department increased the number of volunteers. The roster increased from 23 to 35 within a year. The Fire Department has also responded to a greater number of calls, which requires more personnel.

Chief Josh Smith requested $12,000 in the upcoming budget, compared to $7,783.11 in the previous budget. Although the volunteer stipends have increased, the number of paid personnel has decreased to two part-time firefighters per day.

Interim Town Administrator F.E. Isenhour said this is a good thing because it means the Fire Department is responding to more calls.

“This is truly pay-per-call monies,” he added.

The town at one time had so few volunteers it could not properly respond to certain calls. The Fire Department has actively been recruiting new personnel and volunteers.

In the budget is a request for small equipment such as hoses and equipment to mount laptops inside vehicles, which will be covered through a grant.

Isenhour recommended passing along a 2.6 percent increase in cost to residents from Salisbury-Rowan Utilities.

“The complete pass-through would also allow for some additional funds to build the reserves in the water and sewer fund, which is needed in accordance with (Local Government Commission) rules,” Isenhour said.

The Public Works Department is looking to purchase a used pickup at a cost of $7,000 and a lawn mower for $9,000. All other budgeted costs are minimal.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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