New Fund to Run Park

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Council held a budget workshop Monday night, but only a small portion of the meeting was devoted to discussing budget items. Town Administrator John Perry gave a quick overview of expenditures for personnel and introduced a new Enterprise Fund, which he created to maintain and operate the Doko Meadows during fiscal year 2014 (FY14).

The FY14 operational budget for Doko Meadows (the Park), including the Doko Manor, is $82,000. According to a handout passed out by Perry during the meeting, that amount will be offset by a $62,000 revenue stream he expects from rental of the Doko Manor facility and a $20,000 stabilization contribution (or sinking fund) from the Town’s Hospitality Tax and the Local Accommodations Tax Funds.

The Enterprise Fund focuses on activities and functions, Perry said. Under Program/Oversight, Perry allocated $10,000 (that will be supplemented by other, additional funds) for the Events Conference Center Director Martha Jones and $20,000 for a full-time Accommodations Manager. Another $8,000 was allocated to the keeping of the grounds; $22,000 for general maintenance of the building and $22,000 for utilities.

Perry’s chart of expenditures for personnel under the FY14 budget showed an increase of $8,000 for the Mayor’s salary and expenses, from $16,000 a year to $24,000 a year. Council’s collective annual salary and expenses are expected to go from $40,000 to $50,000 and staff salaries and benefits are expected to go from $400,000 to $424,000, an increase of $24,000. Millage will remain at $8,000. Training, travel and expense is budgeted to remain at $12,000.

Overall, according to Perry, the Town is reducing its employed staff in favor of more outsourcing.

Councilman Ed Garrison stressed that he hoped they still have someone to answer phones when the public calls. Mayor J. Michael Ross assured Garrison, saying, “We have brought in a young man who works in the Cobblestone Park Pro Shop to answer phones on a temporary schedule.” Ross said he was hired on an hourly basis.

Prior to discussing the budget, Council voted to replace the Town’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) consultant, Ralph Walden, with architect Matt Davis who does design/build. Davis has sat in on a couple of ARB meetings in the past when Walden made presentations to the ARB that he (Walden) had worked on for the Town for compensation.

Council also unanimously passed first reading for zoning on two properties on Sandfield Road. They voted to zone a 1-acre property at 525 Sandfield Road from RU (Rural District) in the county to NC (Neighborhood Commercial) in the town. They also voted to zone an adjoining 6.4-acre property at the same address from (RU) in the county to (RU) in the town. Both properties had been annexed into the town in 2009, but were never given final zoning by Council until now.

Council also passed first reading to allow D. R. Horton Builders to reduce by 2 feet the minimum side building set-backs for up to 115 lots in the new Primrose section of The Farm in Cobblestone Park. The builder said this would allow a larger footprint to accommodate ranch style homes designed for senior accessibility.

Council then entered executive session to discuss employment matters related to an employee and matters relating to the proposed location, expansion or the provision of services encouraging location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the area served by the public body. No vote was taken when they came out of executive session.