By Randy Arrington
STANLEY — Last week, the Stanley Council approved its 2020-21 town budget, which increases spending by 5 percent and includes higher fees for water service.
Although the new budget and the new fiscal year begins on July 1, minimum monthly fees for water service increased by $1.50 as of the current billing cycle, which began on June 15. Those increases for minimum charges for water are as follows:
- From $19 to $21.50 for in-town customers;
- From $22 to $23.50 for customers outside town limits.
New revenue generated from the increased minimum fees will help fund the completion of Well No. 7, which is projected to generate more water than the two wells it will be replacing next year.
First dug in 2007, the new well is projected to generate 350 to 400 gallons per minute and serve the town’s needs “for many years to come.” The well has sat dormant for many years, but needs to be completed by November 2021, per an agreement between the town and the Page County Economic Development Authority.
The Stanley Council voted unanimously last month to pay Racey Engineering of Luray $35,350 to conduct a preliminary engineering study and coordinate an environmental assessment (through Stantec Consulting Services Inc.) of Well No. 7. Racey Engineering should complete the preliminary engineering report by late summer and then proceed with the bidding process. The application for USDA funding can not be submitted until late August or early September.
The studies are needed to complete funding applications through the U.S. Department of Agriculture that could pay up to 75 percent of the nearly $600,000 in costs.
Town manager Terry Pettit has stated that the increase in minimum water fees will cover the town’s portion of the project, whether they receive 50- or 75-percent reimbursement through grants. If the town receives the 75-percent reimbursement, the additional new revenue will go toward increasing the capacity (size) of a water line on Al Good Drive from two to six inches. Pettit said the improvement will add water pressure and additional fire protection to homes in that area, and the project should begin no later than fiscal 2022.
Overall, Stanley’s new $2.16 million budget beginning on July 1 will increase spending by about 5 percent, or $106, 992.
The new budget reflects a 15.4-percent increase in non-tax revenue, from $532,778 to $614,812. The majority of that increase reflects the town’s second-biggest project — a new stage and amphitheater at Ed Good Park, which is projected to be unveiled at the 2021 Stanley Homecoming next summer.
Among the funds going toward the $80,000 project is a $35,000 donation from Pioneer Bank and a $30,000 contribution from an anonymous donor. The new addition to the growing town park will feature bathrooms and dressing rooms on either end of the stage.
The final plans for the stage and amphitheater were recently submitted for approval. The project is expected to be put out to bid next month, with a groundbreaking projected for August or September.
The Stanley Council held the line on town taxes, with no changes to the rates for real estate tax, personal property tax, business and vehicle fees, lodging and meals taxes, cigarette tax, sewer and trash rates and sewer connections.
There were no speakers at a June 17 public hearing on the budget, and the town received no written comments prior to council’s unanimous adoption of the budget on June 24.