Southern Shores expenditures exceed budgeted income
Southern Shores expenditures over the fiscal year exceeded income, mainly due to several town council projects like the East Dogwood Trail walking path and a beach vulnerability study.
As the town begins developing the fiscal 2018-19 operating budget, Southern Shores may have to dip into its capital reserve fund to balance the books.
The April 17 special Southern Shores council meeting offered commissioners a chance to reflect on previous and proposed expense directives for the coming year.
Scheduled as a budget work session, Town Manager Peter Rascoe gave council an overview presentation of projected revenues and expenses included in the development of a proposed annual operating budget.
According to Rascoe the first budget draft shows expenses exceed projected income, primarily from projects council requested, including onstruction of a $250,000 East Dogwood Trail walking path, an increase of about $138,000 in the capital street improvement money for the year, a $26,000 facilities assessment of all town buildings and a beach vulnerability study and updated survey for $94,000.
In response to a council query on how Rascoe proposes to make up the difference to have a proposed balanced budget, he said he will be recommending the use of capital reserve fund money to cover the difference.
The alternative would be to increase revenues by raising taxes, or cut services.
Rascoe said the preferable option is to use some of the reserve fund.
“We’re actually not too far off,” said Mayor Pro Tem Chris Nason.
Nason said there was money left over from previous projects that went back into the reserve.
“So Peter can pull that out fairly easily, and it will go back to roads,” Nason continued. “So it’s a little bit of moving money around. Peter will help us figure out where the money will come from.”
As a first step, council voted to hold off on an updated beach survey since it could be delayed a year. The motion to delay the $34,000 survey passed 5-0.
Although there was discussion on the need to set aside money for beach nourishment, it was decided it’s such a big-ticket item there was little benefit in saving nickel and dimes.
There were also questions about fire department expenses, to which Rascoe explained that money in the budget will only be used if council approves a new fire station in the fall when bids come in.
Rascoe said he expected to file his proposed budget at the May 1 regular session town council meeting.
A public hearing on the proposed budget is set for the June 5 regular town council meeting. Council could adopt the budget, with changes, after the public hearing, or at any time through June 30.
The next Southern Shores Town Council meeting is at 5:30 p.m. on May 1 in the Pitts Center located at 5377 North Virginia Dare Trail.