Public hearing for Luray budget set for June 13

Page News and Courier

LURAY — The town's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year increases spending by more than $480,000, or 5.08 percent, from the current spending plan. The increase reflects funds allocated for the reconstruction of the West Main Street Bridge.

A public hearing Monday June 13 is open to town residents to address the proposed budget. After the public hearing, the council will vote on the budget at a later date, with it going into effect Friday, July 1.

No rates are increasing for the 2017 fiscal year. Personal property tax, business license, vehicle license, lodging tax, meals tax, sewer rates, trash rates and water and sewer connection fees will remain the same.

As such, Town Manager Charlie Hoke does not foresee much of the public attending the hearing.

"They typically do not attend [public hearings]," Hoke said. "I do not anticipate that changing now that there are no increases in taxes or fees."

Previously, a contractor did an analysis on Luray's water and sewer system. He recommended a 1 percent increase every year.

"We simply didn't need it this year, so we're not going to impose that unless we need it to balance the budget," Hoke said. "We'll revisit it each year."

Town employees will receive a 2-percent raise.

"We were able to accomplish that without any increase in taxes," Hoke said.

A few police officers retired within the last year, opening more salary space. Additionally, an employee was lost at the waste water plant and not replaced.

The town manager noted one reason why Luray did not increase fees this year was due to the influx of tourism dollars.

"That really keeps our required tax increases down to a minimum," Hoke said. "It's a great benefit to everyone. We get people to come into town and use our hotels, cabins and restaurants."

With Shenandoah National Park, the triathlon, the bike race and more coming, Luray has seen an uptick in visitors to the area.

"We really are becoming a mecca for outdoor events," said Pat O'Brien, Parks and Recreation Director. "Luray is a perfect venue for this."

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