RISING SUN — With plans to hold the property tax rate at 46 cents per $100 of assessed value Rising Sun officials are trying to find ways to do more with less in the Fiscal 2022 budget.
The new budget only gives Rising Sun another $25,000 more than the current budget. Commissioner Dave Warnick noted there are line items in the new plan, which were absent in the FY 2021 budget because of the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.
“There’s a lot of things we didn’t spend money on in 2020 ... like Sunfest and Spooktacular,” Warnick said.
Rising Sun will open bids June 23 on an aggressive paving project for which the town has budgeted nearly $1 million. That’s expected to address the parking lot at Valley View Village off of East Main Street.
“We’ll get the bids ratified at the next meeting and start the work,” said Calvin Bonenberger, town administrator. “We want to assure residents of Valley View you are not forgotten.”
Mason Runn Road and Turtleback Court in the Summer Hill development will also be addressed as well as Mount Street.
“There’s a separation of the road toward the dog park,” he said, referring to Triangle Park, situated between Mount and Walnut Streets.
Some will include more than asphalt.
“This work does include repairing or replacing sidewalks in many areas,” Bonenberger added.
Once this project is complete Bonenberger said the town will have done replacement or repairs on every road under its jurisdiction.
“We’re right on the verge of being ahead of the curve,” he said, adding paving typically lasts about 10 years.
Rising Sun is also seeing stagnant subdivision projects come to life; projects that had been on hold because of the lack of water and sewer. With the building moratorium behind them developers are taking notice.
“In Maple Heights we’ve been notified by the developer he is intending to finish the 57 lots in that development,” Bonenberger said.
Maple Heights is a combination of single family homes and townhomes off of East Main Street.
The Knutsen farm off of Biggs Highway, the Reynolds farm off of Queen Street behind Rising Sun Middle School, the final phase of Maple Heights off East Main Street, and Stephen’s Preserve off of Walnut Street were among the projects put on hold when the moratorium went into effect in 2006.
Since then the Reynolds property changed hands and is still an active farm and Bob Knutsen is raising cattle at his Lovdaii Farm.
However all the new activity means Rising Sun is now about to hire its first code enforcement officer. That has been Bonenberger’s job since he joined the town in May 2007.
“With five new houses being built in town that equals 35 inspections,” Bonenberger said.
On top of that there’s other code inspections the enforcement officer would take off of Bonenberger’s plate including all the home additions and renovations and new businesses moving into existing storefronts.
“We’ve had the position in the budget for five years and we’ve never quite pulled the trigger,” Bonenberger said, adding now is the time.
Meanwhile the town is making plans in the upcoming budget to be able to recruit and retain officers in its police department. What was a starting salary of $39,000 is being increased to $45,000.
“We are adjusting the base salary by 5%,” he said. “The board is making it more attractive to be a police officer in Rising Sun.”
“We’re putting ourselves in a position to be more attractive to the best employees,” he added.
The mayor and commissioners will sign the FY 2022 budget at the June 22 meeting, putting it into effect July 1.