Archived Story

SPSA releases budget

Published 10:24am Friday, March 28, 2014

TRACY AGNEW/News Editor
tracy.agnew@suffolknewsherald.com

The Southeastern Public Service Authority on Wednesday released its $42.4-million budget for the coming year, which includes a 2-percent raise for employees despite decreasing revenue.

The authority isn’t raising the municipal tip fee, which remains at $125 per ton of trash delivered to the landfill. But it is taking nearly $3 million from the tip fee stabilization fund, created a couple of years ago to help the localities plan ahead by keeping the tip fee the same.

Trash tonnages delivered by the eight member localities — Suffolk, Franklin, Southampton County, Isle of Wight County, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach — continue to decrease. Suffolk accounts for only 10 percent of the total delivered, while Franklin and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties deliver only 7 percent combined.

Suffolk dumps its trash for free in exchange for hosting the regional landfill.

Revenue from other tip fees, including from the U.S. Navy and construction and demolition, has also declined, authority financial officer Liesl DeVary said Wednesday.

“We are not seeing the tons coming in in the current year,” she said.

Tip fees, including the municipal fee, account for 87 percent of total revenues. The authority will make up the difference with decreases in areas like professional and contracted services and various operating expenses like utilities and insurance.

One place it isn’t skimping is in personnel costs, which would increase 2 percent if the budget is approved. The cost includes a 2-percent “cost of living adjustment” for employees, as well as an additional adjustment for 89 employees to address pay compression, DeVary said.

The authority will absorb a 10-percent increase in health insurance premiums, cut 3.5 full-time positions and reduce overtime.

Proposed capital improvements also will increase almost $2 million, although board chairman Marley Woodall pointed out that approving the budget does not approve the capital projects.

“We will see each and every one of these projects brought before the board individually,” he said. The authority will spend 12 percent of its budget servicing its debt, which will stand at $28.5 million at the end of the current fiscal year.

A public hearing will be held at the board’s April 23 meeting before it has a chance to approve the budget.

The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at 723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake.

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