City Manager Fred Ramey reviewed the proposed budget at Tuesday’s council meeting, which includes:
• $10.045 million general fund
• $2.569 million local funding for the city school system
• $3.34 million enterprise fund for the water/sewer system
• $1.43 million for the city Social Services fund
Ramey said the general fund budget represents a $235,276 drop from the current fiscal year budget due to preparing for continuing impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. A $125,000 surplus from the current budget will be used to balance next year’s budget.
City residents would see no rate increases or fee hikes for water service under the proposed budget, Ramey said. While rate increases might have been included in the upcoming budget before the pandemic happened, Ramey said it was not the time to consider hikes given the past three months.
In an update on city functions and public activities in the wake of the pandemic, Ramey said the city’s Norton Strong business assistance fund has approved 51 loans for $247,500 in total funding. Following Gov. Ralph Northam’s phase two reopening of businesses and public facilities, Ramey said, city hall reopened June 8 for public business. The Flag Rock Recreation Area also reopened on June 12 under state social distancing and health guidelines, and the city’s Farmers Market reopened on a reduced scale on Tuesday.
The city’s parks and recreation department will host some summer programs in July, Ramey said, and the city’s Independence Day fireworks are scheduled for July 3 with a July 4 rain date.
While some summer festivals such as the Woodbooger Festival were canceled this year, Ramey said the High Knob Outdoor Festival is set for August 14 and 15. The annual Hellbender 10K race has been set for Oct. 3 and the Cloudsplitter 100 race for October 17-18.