Smithfield adopts 2024-25 budget, new trash and water rates

Published 6:05 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

Smithfield’s Town Council voted on June 4 to adopt its $11.2 million 2024-25 budget, a 9.3% increase over the $10.2 million budgeted for the current fiscal year.

The budget keeps the town’s tax rate at 16 cents per $100 in assessed value and includes no other tax increases. It does, however, include a 6% increase in the town’s trash collection fee to $74.63 per residence per year, and a 25-cent or 3.6% increase in the town’s water rate to $7 per 1,000 gallons. The sewer rate, which is based on water usage, has increased from $3.74 per 1,000 gallons to $3.99.

The new budget and all new rates will take effect July 1.

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The council adopted its budget, tax rates and fees, and five-year capital improvements plan in five separate votes, all of which passed unanimously.

The budget includes 4% raises for existing employees and a longevity bonus that would add  $1,000 to the annual salary of employees who’ve been with the town for one to five years, $1,500 for six to 10 years and $2,000 for 11 or more years. The town’s minimum hourly wage would rise from $12.50 to $15.  The budget includes funding for a new police officer and an additional planner in the town’s Community Development and Planning Department.

The capital improvements plan, intended for costly one-time expenses, lists $2.8 million for projects set to begin in 2024-25. The costliest include $696,790 for a concession stand serving the Luter Sports Complex’s football field, $850,000 for stormwater and drainage projects on Pagan and Battery Park roads, $175,000 for new police vehicles, a $170,000 bypass sewer pump, and $136,000 for the town’s share of the Park-to-Park Trail, intended to eventually connect Nike Park in Carrollton with Windsor Castle Park.

The CIP budgets an additional $100,000 per year for the Nike Park trail in fiscal years 2026-27 and 2027-28, and $675,000 in fiscal year 2028-29.  According to Stallings, the $136,000 budgeted for the upcoming year is grant funding for a pedestrian and bicycle mobility plan that will allow the town to apply to Safe Streets and Roads For All, a federal program established by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.   A $23 million proposal for funding Smithfield’s 1-mile portion of the trail from the Royal Farms on South Church Street to Windsor Castle Park scored poorly on an application last year for the fifth round of Smart Scale, a cost-versus-benefit formula the Virginia Department of Transportation uses to prioritize state funding. The county completed its 3.1-mile stretch of trail for $8.6 million in 2021, but Smithfield’s share is being driven up by the need to rebuild a two-lane stretch of South Church Street engineers have told town officials is too flat to accommodate curb-and-gutter drainage infrastructure for the proposed trail.