Budget boom: City of Valley expecting record capital expenditure for 2023-24

Published 8:30 am Saturday, August 12, 2023

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VALLEY — The Valley City Council met Thursday evening to to discuss third quarter financials and a proposed budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Mayor Leonard Riley told the council that there’s no evidence of any kind of coming economic slowdown. “Our revenue keeps growing and growing,” he said. “We’re over $350,000 ahead of where we were this time last year.”

A new online tax the city is receiving from the state is generating over $6o,000 a month. This is a tax based on purchases people are making online, like at Amazon.

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The continued revenue growth will likely result in each department head getting everything they asked for heading into next year. This doesn’t happen very often.

Instead of buying new vehicles for next year Valley Police Department will be leasing them. For several years now, new police re purchased by the city have been late to arrive and VPD has to see that the car is striped and equipped with lights and radios.

Chief Mike Reynolds explained that by leasing vehicles from an Indiana company, the vehicles will arrive on time and will have all the exterior lettering and the needed lighting. “All we have to do is to put in the radios and the cameras, and that’s not that hard to take care of,” he said.

Valley Police Department is looking at leasing six new Dodge Charger Pursuit vehicles, each with four-wheel drive. They will be replacing some Ford Explorers that haven’t worked out well.

Three-year leases for six new vehicles will run a little more than $125,000.

“We will be putting more money into our capital budget than we ever have before,” Riley said.

Along with the police department, public works will be a big beneficiary in getting new equipment. Public works will be getting a new limb truck, a front-end loader and an asphalt patcher that costs around $220,000.

The proposed budget includes some needed work at the Valley Community Center pool and on the exterior of the central building at Valley Sportsplex. The pool area hasn’t been repainted since the Community Center opened in 2003. The exterior stucco on the Sportsplex building will be repaired, and the building repainted. This will cost a little under $50,000. Some hot water heaters will be replaced at the Community Center as well.

The new budget is expected to have over $1 million in capital expenditures.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount told the mayor and council that the gym floor inside the Community Center needs some work but that can wait until next year.

Riley said the big problem now isn’t revenue – that’s coming in at a good clip – the problem is that costs are so high.

The city is looking at an estimated $11.6 million in expenditures in 2023-24. That will be up from $10.5 million that’s being spe

nt this year.

“This is the first time since I have been mayor that I didn’t have to make adjustments from what the department heads asked for,” he said.

Riley said he is proud he has kept a campaign promise he made when he first ran for mayor in 2012. “I made a commitment to employees 10 years ago that we’d never lay anyone off and we haven’t,” he said.

Riley reviewed the street paving that has been taking place this spring and summer. Some work on Whitesmill Road is all that’s left to close out Phase I of what was planned for 2023. Work has been finished on several roads including Harmon, Evergreen and MLK. A number of more streets will be resurfaced in Phase II once Chris Clark catches up with some other projects.

The mayor has a plan to put in a new turning lane on Fairfax Bypass should the consolidated school site be settled in Valley’s favor. The city still have some federal stimulus money that can be spent on water, sewer and drainage improvements. It has to be spent before December 31, 2024.

The city has recently been doing some cleanup work at the site of Riverdale Mill. “There are more piles of debris down there than I thought,” he said. “We will be moving our equipment down there to continue with this.”

The city has been doing some work on the portion of 30th Street that heads to the river. A trunk line will be put in in case a new subdivision is developed there. Four lots will soon be sold behind some existing houses on 30th. The lots are around one acre in size and will be going for around $8,000 each.

Riley told the council that work is proceeding on the future site of Four Star Auto Auction. The location faces I-85 next to Four Star Freightliner. There’s no connection between the two businesses but the proximity of one to the other could be helpful to both.

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt informed the council that there won’t be any Christmas lights on the Iron Bridge in Langdale this year. “It’s a safety issue,” he said. “We’ve been told that we don’t need to have city employees doing that.”

Council Member Randall Maddux said the new lights along I-85 between Exit 77 and the river are now on and look really good. “They really light the place up,” said Mayor Riley.