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Elizabethtown now has a spending plan in place for the 2012-13 fiscal year and residents can expect to see increases in their gas, water and sewer bills.
City officials approved a $60.7 million budget proposal Monday and adopted increases in water, sewer and gas rates, which take effect in July.
The increase in water and sewer rates is the first in several years and was prompted by rate studies indicating increases would be needed to pay outstanding debt and keep water and sewer reserves from reaching unsustainable levels.
The city has said the average monthly water bill will increase $6 for water and $7 for sewer. Gas rates will increase $1 for the average monthly bill.
HDR Engineers recommended a one-time 60 percent increase in water rates and an 83 percent increase in sewer rates, but Mayor Tim Walker has said the city will phase in roughly half of the increase this year and finish the increase in next year’s budget.
The budget, meanwhile, has $3 million set aside for operations of the Elizabethtown Sports Park, which includes more than half a million in salaries and $1.6 million in debt payments.
A 3 percent cost-of-living increase for employees and a 2.96 percent increase for the mayor and council also have been authorized.
More than $2 million has been set aside for drainage projects and $2.6 million is earmarked to construct the Nicholas Street relocation project and extension of Towne Drive to Veterans Way. The city also has invested $1.2 million to build tennis courts at Freeman Lake Park behind Lakeshore Plaza. Construction on the courts has begun and they should be ready for use by September, according to Walker. Additionally, $800,000 is earmarked for the Veterans Tribute phase of Elizabethtown Nature Park, which will be unveiled on Veterans Day.
The city also plans to use hundreds of thousands of dollars in regulatory and licensing fees from alcohol sales to hire and train three new police officers, purchase cruisers and hire an information technology and statistics compiler.
In other business:
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.