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Middletown Transcript
  • Odessa budget includes no tax hike, slight trash fee increase

  • Odessa Town Council on Monday unanimously approved a $95,620 spending plan for fiscal year 2014 that holds the line on the town’s residential and commercial property tax rates.
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  • Odessa Town Council on Monday unanimously approved a $95,620 spending plan for fiscal year 2014 that holds the line on the town’s residential and commercial property tax rates.
    Odessa’s budget for the coming year represents a 4-percent decrease from its $99,912 spending plan for fiscal year 2013 budget.
    However, local property owners can expect to see their annual trash bill increase from $237 to $261 – a $2-per-month hike that will cover the addition of bi-weekly yard waste collection, starting next week.
    “We do everything we can not to raise taxes on our residents, and luckily we haven’t had to in two or three years, even through some lean times,” Mayor Kathleen Harvey said after Monday’s vote. “As far as the trash fee, that’s determined by our contract with Waste Industries.”
    Odessa Town Council approved a new, five-year contract with the North Carolina-based trash hauler on Monday that maintains its weekly household trash collection and bi-weekly recycling service, while adding bi-weekly yard waste collection.
    “Although the new contract includes a fee increase, the annual cost for residents would have been $276 if we hadn’t added yard waste, so really residents are getting more for less,” Harvey said.
    Meanwhile, the town’s residential property tax rate of 25 cents per $100 of assessed value and its commercial tax rate of 90 cents per $100 of assessed value will remain unchanged.
    Trash fees and property tax assessments make up about 95 percent of the town’s annual operating revenue with the remainder coming from building permits and franchise fees.
    The town council also anticipates raising about $23,167 through property rentals and transfer taxes. Those funds are earmarked for use on street lights, snow removal, contracted police services and maintenance costs.
    Odessa’s mayor and three-member town council, which still has open seat after failing to yield a single candidate for the vacant seat in April, also approved a $1-per-hour raise for Town Secretary Barbara Roberts on Monday.
    Roberts will now earn $17 per hour for a 16-hour work week, or $13,056 a year before taxes, starting July 1.
    Town Clerk Michelle Bellaforde-Doughety will continue to be paid $14 an hour for 35 hours of work per month, or $5,880 per year.
    Overtime for both employees will be paid at the same rate.
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