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Vinton Town Council may cut town pool, K-9 unit to balance budget

Vinton Town Council may cut town pool, K-9 unit to balance budget (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

VINTON (WSLS 10) - Vinton Town Council will make some tough decisions to balance the budget for the next year. 

One cut on the chopping block is the town's pool. Officials say the pool would be open the summer of 2015 and would close in August and not open in the future. 

The pool is 68 years old. Officials say it's still operational, but maintenance of a seven-decade-old facility is expensive. However, town officials say the pool is a high priority for those that use it and can't afford membership pools. 

Council has asked staff to evaluate increasing cost of admission to evaluate increasing funds to operate the pool. Closing it will save $35,000 per year. 

Another possible cut is the town K-9 unit. It is only called out about 50 times per year, half in the town and half in supporting other agencies. The town manager says it's a nice addition to the police force, but cutting the program would have $15,000. 

Town officials have also increased fire services to 24-hours. Currently, career staff functions 12 hours Monday through Friday. Volunteers cover weekends and evening hours. Officials say this has increasingly become more difficult to provide consistent and timely responses from volunteers over the years. This change has required an increase in real estate taxes to pay the $120,000 annual expense for two new employees. 

Vinton is also recommending a two percent increase to their employees. They say this change is a small step to keep up with inflationary price increases. This costs a total of $85,000.

In a written statement town officials said, "The difficult approach to this budget is funding our highest priorities and maintaining the infrastructure the town currently has." 

The recommended cuts to the budget account for approximately $100,000 out of a $12.8 million budget. 

Town Council plans to hold two meetings in May which residents are welcomes to attend: 

  • May 5 at 7 p.m. - general business meeting with citizen comment section
  • May 19 at 7 p.m. - Schedule budget public hearing to gain citizen input

To get a copy of the town's budget, click here