Tyrone preparing for budget issues


The Tyrone Town Council had its annual retreat Feb. 27. Front and center in the discussions, and first on the agenda, was the potential effects of the recession and its impact on the upcoming budget that begins July 1.

Like other municipalities in Fayette County and beyond, Tyrone council members discussed the prospects for the upcoming budget year that look challenging at best. Like the others, and though the situation can only be estimated until the tax digest numbers are released, Tyrone is expecting a decrease in tax revenues of approximately 7 percent. That decrease would amount to an $82,896 loss in local revenues out of a budget of approximately $3.04 million.

Council members were told that the FY 2010-2011 budget will be tight though it is not expected to include any increase in the current 2.889 millage rate.
A mill today is valued at approximately $400,000. That value would drop to approximately $370,000 if the tax digest decreases by 7 percent.

“We’re not planning any millage adjustments so we’re looking at ways to produce a balanced budget,” Town Manager Richard Newbern said Thursday.
Among other things, the cost saving measures being reviewed include postponing any capital improvement projects and not filling staff vacancies.

Also at the meeting, Police Chief Brandon Perkins outlined the department’s goals and objectives for 2010. Configured into categories, goal areas included Community Policing, Crime & Traffic, Training and Certification.

The Community Policing goal included maintaining constructive, open communications with citizens and creating opportunities for citizen-officer interactions. The goal for Crime & Traffic involved the issues of maintaining a low crime rate and maintaining a low rate of accidents with injuries and deaths.

Training goals would ensure that all personnel have access to both academy and advanced level training that is pertinent to their job and would revise the agency’s field training curriculum. The Certification goal would have the department re-gain “certified” status through the state certification program.

Perkins also received council approval to purchase eight shotguns to go with the five already owned. At $259 each, the total cost will be $2,072. The purchase will provide a shotgun for each officer, Perkins said. The purchase will be made using federal seized asset funds through the town’s participation with the Fayette Sheriff’s Tactical Narcotics Team.

The department’s seized asset fund has a current balance of $445,439.

And on the issue of a proposal by John Wieland & Associates that Rivercrest subdivision become a gated community, the council said it was opposed to the idea. The proposal called for the streets in the subdivision to become the responsibility of the homeowner’s association which could be beneficial for the town but could become problematic if the association ever voted to withdraw from being a gated community.

Rivercrest has 155 platted lots though houses have been built on only 13 of those lots. The council was told that Wieland’s Rivercrest property is involved in a $23 million bankruptcy filing.

Councilman Tracy Young during the discussion said he was also opposed to the idea because a gated community would create a type of exclusivity that is not representative of Tyrone.