IRVINGTON—Six citizens spent 90 minutes during a town council hearing last Thursday discussing their take on every aspect of Irvington’s proposed $191,868 budget for the 2018 fiscal year and a variety of other topics as well.
Issues included a public debate on the merits of increasing the time and pay for the two town employee positions.
The clerk’s position, currently unfilled, pays $21,000 annually for a 20-hour work week, according to member Michael Bombay. Council wants to bump it up to 30 hours.
“The position of town clerk should be decoupled from the budget and financial accounting,” said Klaus Schaschek. “That would decrease the job hours that would go to an accountant. You have to get an over-qualified clerk to do accounting.”
Councilman Wayne Nunnally spoke out against a $5,000 expenditure to consultants to draft an ordinance on planned unit developments.
“I vehemently continue to be against that $5,000,” said Nunnally. The town attorney says he could write the ordinance under his retainer fee, he added.
“That’s not completely true,” councilman Jerry Latell replied. “He said he could write it, but that he would not be the best one to do it.”
“They’re basically a boiler-plate document,” argued Nunnally.
Schaschek suggested they recoup the fee when they issue a permit for a PUD.
Bonnie Schaschek objected to increasing the contribution to the Lancaster Community Library from $500 to $1,000. “Give the other $500 to the Steamboat Era Museum,” she said. “What tourism benefits does the library give us?”
Klaus Schaschek suggested they charge the five residents who use the library.
The Lancaster by the Bay Chamber is in the library and will bring tourists, said vice mayor Kathleen Pollard.
Member Mike Merrill noted it was a significant jump. “But the library made a significant jump.”
There was a long discussion on the Virginia Department of Transportation’s progress on repairing and replacing town sidewalks. Members were questioned on when the town would start replacing sections the town allowed in the capital improvement budget.
“We will get contractors in and hopefully get it done this year,” said mayor Rannie Ransome.
Klaus Schaschek questioned the $30,000 set aside for the project, saying that figure was for all the sidewalks, including those replaced by VDOT at VDOT’s expense. He reminded council to be careful, “…because now you’re spending everyone’s money.”
Members also discussed capital improvement projects and the need to open a bank account designated to capital projects.
According to member Fran Westbrook, council did not hold a public hearing on the town tax rate of $0.05 per $100 of assessed value because the rate will not change.
Members thanked Westbrook and Pollard for picking up all the duties of the town clerk until one could be hired.
Council set a vote on the budget for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 22, at town hall, 235 Steamboat Road, Irvington.