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Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen passed the proposed town budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 earlier this month, wherein board members resolved the contentious issue of establishing municipal water and sewer rates for Maconians tapped into the utility.

The June 7 meeting was a continuation from a budget workshop held just days before, where officials held little debate over most of the proposed $8.4 million budget laid out by Town Manager Sam Greenwood. The proposed flat budget included no increase on the valuation tax rate, and introduced a small raise in base pay for town employees.

Aldermen and Mayor Joe Collins could not however decide on setting a water and sewer rate schedule. The proposed budget levied for an average increase of six percent for water and 14 percent for sewer services to compensate for a shortfall in utility revenue.

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced $9.6 million for the creation of two new Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas in New York and North Carolina, and the expansion of an already established BCAP project area in Arkansas. The announcement provides the opportunity to expand the nation's non-food, energy crops used in the manufacturing of liquid biofuels and to help meet state mandated Renewal Portfolio Standards (RPS).

“Increasing the production of renewable, home-grown fuels is vital to reducing our country’s reliance on foreign oil, while creating good-paying jobs and diversifying the agriculture economy,” said Vilsack. “These projects are the foundation for an even stronger energy future in rural America.

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After a six-month long process, The Macon County Board of Commissioners approved the 2012/2013 budget during its regularly scheduled June board meeting on Tuesday night. Without having to raise the county-wide tax rates, the commissioners worked with department heads, the finance director, and County Manager Jack Horton to establish a $44,391,193 balanced budget for next year.

Next year's budget, although three percent more than the current year's budget, redirects funds and utilizes the reserved fund balance in order to avoid raising taxes and passing the burden on to Macon County residents.

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The task of establishing water and sewer rates is not an easy one for the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen. As part of adopting the proposed $8.4 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, aldermen contemplated the issue at their meeting on Monday, which included a public hearing.

Two residents voiced their concerns at the hearing about the water and sewer rate schedule. The proposed budget levies for an average increase of six percent for water and 14 percent for sewer services.

 

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