No fire station construction in 22/23 and increases for all our Farmville utilities

Town of Farmville Budget for Fiscal Year 2022/23 passed unanimously on 06/06/22

No new fire station construction due to lack of funds – planning to continue for at least one more year+

Fund a new, additional full-time position in Recreation

Fund a new, additional part-time position at the Library

Pay $460,733 in July 2022 for annual payment of library construction loan without any money left from library donations, fundraisers, or grants

14% increase in water rates*

10% increase in solid waste collection fees

5% increase in electric rates^

5% increase in sewer rates

+The new Farmville fire station will continue to remain in the planning stages. The BALLPARK estimates for the total construction costs are between 6,000,000 and 8,000,000. (The $8,000,000 amount could include a $1,000,000 USDA grant.)

*The wholesale cost of water to the Town of Farmville from the Greenville Utilities Commission will increase by 15.3 cents per 1,000 gallons on July 1. For many of our households, this would constitute adding less than $1 per month to our bill. This is a 7% increase on a small portion of our water bill. Farmville commissioners voted to increase our total water bill by 14%. For 5,000 gallons usage my family recently paid $50 for that month’s water. Starting July 1 that same water bill would become $57. Farmville residents had a 6% water rate increase in 20/21 and a 6% increase in 21/22. For comparison, the City of Greenville GUC customers had no increase in water rates in 20/21 or 21/22. For this coming fiscal year they will have only a 3.1% increase in water and they are paying for construction of a water plant to increase capacity.

^We have not had an increase in electric rates in approximately ten years. When the town received a reduction once or twice, they passed on a small portion of that to us electric customers.

QUESTIONS

How will the Town of Farmville pay back the $5,200,000 we currently owe on the library construction loan? We already have spent all of the money from library fundraisers, donations and grants.

How will the Town of Farmville pay for the construction of a $6,000,000 – $8,000,000 fire station after this fiscal year or the next or the next? Could we qualify for another loan with our current $5,000,000 library loan?

How much did the Board vote to budget for library utilities for the next fiscal year which starts on July 1 and was the amount more realistic than it was in our current fiscal year? For the current fiscal year, they budgeted $24,000 but will have gone approximately $14,000 over that to something like $38,000. This approximate 58% increase, or going close to $14,000 over the library utility budget is incredible. Where will we get this money?

With Farmville residents facing pain at the gas pump and the current rampant inflation, is this the best time to add a full-time staff position and a part-time staff position to the town budget? Should we be tightening up and sticking with our needs as opposed to our wants?  How much will these increased water, electric, sewer and solid waste collection bills affect our citizens? Rate increases will hurt the poorest Farmville residents the most.

It looks like extravagant spending on the part of our commissioners is starting to catch up with us. (There will be no comments allowed on this blog post on this site. If someone shares it to their Facebook page or Twitter feed, I have no control over comments there.)

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