The Aberdeen Town Board of Commissioners (BOC) recently approved its annual budget for the new fiscal year that started on July 1, 2017. The BOC merged their 2015 Strategic Plan with the annual budget. According to the Town’s Bon Accord newsletter, the goals from the Strategic Plan are as follows.
1. Create an Engaged Economic Development Program;
2. Maintain County, Regional, and Intergovernmental Cooperation & Participation;
3. Encourage Citizen Communication & Participation in Town Events, Celebrations & Volunteerism;
4. Strengthen Business & Residential Partnerships;
5. Enhance Town Departmental Core Services; and,
6. Provide a Balanced Capital Improvement Plan & Effort.
According to the newsletter, Town Manager, Paul Sabiston, stated the budget totals $12,079,298 which is an increase from last year’s budget with the focus being on planned capital improvements, including a new fire pumper truck ($550,000), four new police vehicles ($155,000), a new sanitation truck ($165,000), and substantial improvements to the downtown area ($259,000), and parks facilities ($239,000). However, the budget is balanced with no increase in the town’s tax rate, no increase in the monthly garbage collection rate, and a 3% increase in the water and sewer fees. The BOC will not use reserve funds.
The BOC is focusing on improving the downtown area and the parks’ facilities, and the town recently invited the public’s input on what kind of things the community thought was attractive to make the downtown area a stop and shop destination instead of a drive by location. According to the Bon Accord, below is an outline for these improvements.
1. South Street Improvements $35,000-$50,000.
2. US 1 Crossing (Ped Plan Priority Project #1) $4,000.
3. Master Sign Plan $35,000
4. Railroad Crossing Improvements $15,000.
5. Downtown Master Plan Project $27,000.
6. Downtown Master Plan Project Talbooth St. $22,000.
7. Downtown Master Plan Project Poplar St. $55,000.
8. Johnson Street Sidewalks (Ped Plan Priority Project #4) $8,000.
9. US 1 Crossing (Ped Plan Priority Project #1) $20,000.
10. Johnson Street Sidewalks (Ped Plan Priority Project #4) $38,000.
The following projects are not funded as of now; however, they may be substituted with an existing project:
1. Downtown Master Plan Traffic Study $6,000.
2. Magnolia/(Mike’s Place) Sidewalks $13,000.
3. Pedestrian Plan Update $35,000.
4. Railroad Crossing Improvements at Maple Street and Midway Road $15,000.
Parks & Recreation:
1. Sharpe Park playground equipment $15,000.
2. New storage facility at Colonial Heights Park $30,000.
3. Demolition of the Boy Scout and JC Huts $24,000.
4. New playground equipment at Berkley Park $12,000.
5. Swing set at Lake Park $8,000.
6. Complete the walking trail at Lake Park $150,000.
Sabiston summed up the newsletter by stating, “The Town of Aberdeen remains in a healthy financial state with continued growth and reasonable development. We will face some challenges in the coming year, such as road improvements to US 15-501, repairing the lake spillway, and the need for improved schools that serve our town.”