By Sarah Richardson
At the latest Lewisburg City Council meeting, Mayor Beverly White announced that she is running unopposed for another term in this year’s municipal election. Also running unopposed are two city council members, John Little and Sarah Elkins. “We are excited to be able to serve the City once again, please come out and vote,” said Mayor White. “We are excited about what’s ahead for Lewisburg.”
City Manager Misty Hill presented Council with an order calling for a levy election as the last levy nears its expiration date. The five-year levy provides funding for the city’s police department, fire department, city streets, streetlights, parks, and other city property. The approximate total value of the levy over five years is $2,750,165. Voters will be able to vote “for” or “against” continuing the levy during the June 13 municipal election. City Treasurer Susan Honaker noted to council that it requires a 55 percent “for” vote to pass.
Hill also reported that work is continuing to the new Public Works building site on Stonehouse Road next to the Municipal Water Plant as the weather improves and the mud becomes less of a hindrance.
Council member Sarah Elkins announced that the Parks Commission held their first meeting of the year, and that all-new field lights have been ordered for Hollowell and Dorie Miller parks. These lights should be installed by the end of May, after which night games can be held. These new lights come at no cost to the city as they are replacing deficient lights that were ordered some time ago.
Elkins said that Parks Commission members heard presentations from area sports team leaders, most of whom are reporting strong numbers with youth sports participation in the area. The girls softball league reports an anticipated 450-500 players this season. “They’re doing something right,” said Elkins. “I think that’s a testament to the program.”
Elkins also reported that there is an ongoing discussion on raising the $10 special event field fee. They are researching a “more realistic fee structure.” There is also a fence that will be installed to separate the ballfield from the playground at Dorie Miller, and discussions to erect a flyball net between the ballfield and Pickleball court at Hollowell Park.
In other news, council member John Little raised concerns over a dilapidated structure located at the Walnut Lane and Green Street intersection. “This is not an issue over whether the house looks good or not,” Little said, “I believe the house is a safety hazard.” He said that efforts made so far to “bringing the property back into some sort of fair condition are not in good faith, as I understand it.”
Little asked the city to engage with their attorney to see what can be done. “It’s clearly a danger, and I would like us to address that is some meaningful way.”
The general fund budget for the city’s 2024 fiscal year was discussed, with additional department capital requests including $25,000 for community development, $23,500 for City Hall, $29,770 for the police department, $400,000 for the purchase of a fire truck, $9,000 for a mill grinder for the streets department, and $12,000 for city parks. The total in expenditures comes to $9.1 million, and $4.6 million in estimated revenue. It has been submitted to the state for approval.
Council member Little noted that while, at a glance, the budget seems to have a wide divide between total expenses and total revenue, “I think we are very, very conservative on the expense side, and not very conservative on the income side, so it makes us look like the numbers are very askew.” He explained that the budget was presented in the same way last year, but now that the fiscal year is wrapping up they are showing an estimated positive rather than a negative. “It is really good to see these projected actuals as opposed to the budget, and I think if anybody is concerned when they look at those numbers they should do a deeper dive on those numbers. I feel good about the work that we did.”
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