RW Council to cash in town’s CDs

RIDGEWAY – Upon the recommendation of the Town’s interim administrator David Hudspeth, Ridgeway Town Council passed first reading (3-1) last week to amendment the 2017-18 budget to transfer $500,000 from the General Fund to create a $300,000 Capital Expenditures Fund and transfer $200,000 to the Water Fund. Hudspeth’s recommended budget would also increase the Professional Services line item from $6,000 (for the auditor) to $26,000 to include the auditor’s fee plus funds for legal fees (over $4,500 so far for attorney’s advice regarding town hall dog) and Hudspeth’s professional fees ($16,000 for 30 days of work).

The amended budget was prompted after Council had spent more than $113,000 since June, 2017, from a capital improvements fund that did not exist. Councilman Heath Cookendorfer voted against the amendment and Councilman Don Prioleau left just before the vote and did not cast a vote. Mayor Charlene Herring and Council members Andrea Harrison and Doug Porter voted for the amendment.

Other recommended amendments to the budget include adding $100,000 to the budget for grant matches and designating $100,000 of the new $300,000 Capital Expenditures Fund for fiscal year 2017-18 for projects already considered. The remaining $200,000 in the Capital Expenditures Fund is designated by Hudspeth for “Future Capital Improvements” even though it is included in the FY 2017-18 budget.

Liquidate Town’s CDs

To accommodate these and other amendments to the budget, Hudspeth recommended liquidating all the Town’s CDs, about $409,000, as they become mature and transferring the resulting cash into the unrestricted General Fund which would be $294,600 as amended.

“I think the checking account balances are pretty low,” Hudspeth said. “Liquidating those CDs will allow you to put money in your checking account.”

Referring to the $300,000 Capital Expenditures Fund, Hudspeth said, “That’s what you can spend without worrying about payroll and other things you have to pay regularly. You want to have a healthy capital fund.”

In addition to liquidating the $409,000 in CDs, Hudspeth also suggested cashing in the $55,469 Pig on the Ridge CDs and putting the cash in a separate account. However, those funds would still be in the General Fund and could be spent for anything that comes out of the General Fund.

“I don’t agree with cashing in the CDs,” Cookendorfer told Hudspeth. “Once we cash them in, they’re gone. I would like to see the Pig on the Ridge funds actually restricted. Being in the General Fund, it can be borrowed if we run short on other things. I don’t like that. We need to quite buying shutters and some of those things and concentrate on some of the expensive things like the water tower and other things that we really have to move on.”

The final vote on the amended budget will be held at the January meeting, 6:30 p.m., Jan. 11 at the Century House.

Other Business

In other business, Council passed second and final reading on an ordinance to amend the Town’s Code of Ordinances to modify Section 5-1006, Observance of Truck Routes Required: Exceptions. Council also passed the first of two votes to lease the shop behind Old Town Hall Restaurant to the Barclay School for $250.