The Town of Clayton Budget Committee met on Oct. 24 to discuss the 2013 budget. While the proposed budget isn't quite ready to go before council, Committee Chair Dave Letterman expects the budget to be finalized by Thanksgiving.

Though the committee discussed a few aspects of the budget, including the possible purchase of a backhoe, Letterman addressed the 2013 budget after the meeting.

At this point in time, there are no plans to raise fees or taxes next year. Letterman said that the fiscal year 2013 budget is a "basic balanced budget through cuts and maintaining the status quo."

However, Letterman did say the town will have to face facts and eventually increase fees and/or taxes in the future simply because the cost of everything else such as fuel and equipment has increased.

"We've been fighting it off as long as we can, but everything else is going up so we're going to have to too," Letterman said.

The town was facing a $220,000 paper deficit, but made enough cuts for the town to now have a possible $28,000 surplus. But Letterman said the surplus will most likely be less than that before the budget is approved.

The Personnel Committee is dealing with a personnel matter in which they are considering increasing the hours of an employee; therefore, Letterman said he expects the surplus to decrease dramatically after the decision is made. The employee matter will be addressed prior to the November council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13, which is a day later than usual due to the celebration of Veteran's Day on Monday, Nov. 12.

"We expect to approve the budget between now and Thanksgiving," Letterman said. "If we can't get it done at the next meeting, we'll hold a special meeting before Thanksgiving."

2012 budget update

Letterman said the current 2012 budget is right on target. The town is considering buying a backhoe for roughly $40,000. The backhoe was originally planned to be purchased in 2013, but Town Foreman Jeff Hurlock said the town was recently given a chance to order one for a fairly reasonable price. The Budget Committee had budgeted roughly $60,000 for the backhoe in next year's budget.

PPCAC undercollected

During the budget meeting, Hurlock informed the committee that the town has undercollected roughly $80,000 from the PPCAC (Power Purchase Cost Adjustment Charge) portion of the town's electric rate.

The PPCAC is used to deal with the fluctuations of wholesale energy prices. Since the town is undercollecting, Hurlock said the town would typically look at raising the rate, which is currently .56 cents per kilowatt-hour used. However, Hurlock said the town has been advised to wait until after the first of the year to see if the electric rates go up or down before making a decision.

The PPCAC in Clayton was decreased earlier this year from 1.65 cents to .56 cents per kilowatt-hour used. Clayton Town Council approved the rate decrease based on a recommendation from the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation to do so.

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