May 2023      

101st Edition              


I hope that this finds you and yours healthy, safe and enjoying the onset of spring. This has been an interesting year when we have sometimes gotten to enjoy all 4 seasons during a single day. Although looking around the rest of the Country we have nothing to complain about. It’s hard to believe how much the grass is already growing and everywhere you look things are blooming. The sound of lawnmowers can be heard all around town and it looks like it is once again going to be a busy mowing season.

Every year around this time we remind you about the signs around Town instructing dog owners to clean up after their pets; as the signs point out it is the Law and must be obeyed year-round. Please be considerate of others and clean up after your pets. IT’S A LAW folks, not a suggestion!

The opening of the Town Pool is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend; with the Shelters and Restrooms at the Park already being used as well as the Playground.  When the Pool opens you will get to see a number of improvements including retiling and plastering of the Pool. We have also added a new automatic chemical injector that will be a great help in keeping the chemicals balanced throughout the season. There are new showers in each of the restrooms and we were able to do a little adjusting to the size of the stalls in the ladies room. The space within the pool house definitely limits what we can do in the way of improvements, but we hope you will appreciate the work that was done.

There is also an Eagle Scout Project that is proposed for the Pool area. It will include a sail structure to provide a shade area, some new benches and a number of clothes changing cubicles to help with the small restroom problem. Pool Manager, Fay Wymer-Hollar, is also looking into new picnic tables that we hope to order this year.

Skyline Street Rods will be back in the Park again this year with a Car Show on Sunday, June 25th. This popular event starts at 9:00 am and always attracts a crowd to see all the vehicles which include antiques, street rods, custom cars, trucks and sport cars. There is sure to be something to please the car lover in us all.

Edinburg’s Sewer Plant upgrade is moving forward and we should be starting the new treatment process around the end of June. WGK Construction out of Chantilly, Virginia is doing a great job, and we are very pleased with the new Blowers and Pumps that are already working in conjunction with the old treatment process. When the new Plant is started in June we will also still be running the old Plant at the same time. We are still trying to wrap our heads around how this will work, but we do need to make sure that the new treatment process is doing its job before we abandon the old process. Once everything checks out the contractor will begin the demo work on those parts of the old treatment process that are no longer needed.

There are a number of new things involved in what will be the Plant’s new treatment process. One that we are looking forward to is the new Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection System which will take the place of the chlorine disinfection and dechlorination now in use. Using UV will eliminate the need to have dangerous chlorine gas and SO2 gas tanks at the Plant.  We have been very lucky through the years and only had one small issue with the release of chlorine gas; it will be really nice to remove the threat of that possibility once and for all.

The USDA Rural Development funding for the Plant Upgrade started officially in March 2023. Up until then we were paying for the project with interim financing in the form of a loan for $2.5 million. USDA required us to secure this loan which was interest only for a period of 3 years. We had spent $2.13 million of the funds by March of this year which made it necessary to finally close on the USDA Rural Development Loans and Grants. Some of you might remember that we originally were approved for a Loan of $2,503,000 and Grant of $886,600. Then because of increased project costs we received a Subsequent Loan of $494,000 and Subsequent Grant of $328,400. Closing on these Loans and Grants allowed us to pay off the interim financing as well as reimburse the Town for some other expenses that we have covered up to this point.

All of this happened just in time for the review of the 2022-2023 Budget and the planning for the 2023-2024 Budget. The payoff and the infusion of the Rural Development money really had an affect on the current year (22-23) Budget. The Enterprise Fund increased from $3,024,140 to $7,352,123.

Another source of funding that affected the 2022-2023 Budget was the use of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. We were still considering possible uses for this funding at this time last year. Some of what we had planned is slowly getting started like the upgrading of water mains in the Cave Spring’s area, work on finishing the water pumping station and 200,000 gal ground storage tank and adding a backup generator at Well #2. All of these projects are actually underway; although getting bids, supply chain issues and other things have really slowed things down. We also recently signed the proposals to repaint our water storage tanks, something that we hope will have started before you are reading this.  There were a number of other things that did or didn’t happen that were factored in to amend the 2022-2023 Budget to what we think will actually happen between now and June 30, 2023.

The Town Council will be holding a Public Hearing on May 9th, 2023 at 7:00 to receive comments on the amended 2022-2023 Budget and the proposed Budget for the year beginning July 1, 2023 and ending June 30, 2024. As always, there will be limited room in the Town Hall to hear resident’s comments. Please consider sending questions or comments on any of the proposed 2023-2024 Budget items by email, US Mail or drop them at the Town Hall prior to the May 9th Public Hearing. Your comments will be shared with all of the Council members before, as well as during, the meeting. Email is town@shentel.net Mailing address is PO Box 85, and Phone: (540) 984-8521

Preparing the Budget is always a challenge and this year was no exception. We are very aware of the rising cost for everything and the operation of the Town is impacted every day by this. Things like Supplies, Chemicals, Fuel, Wages, Mandated Improvements, Insurance and Repairs seem to be increasing all the time; and there are very few things that we can just stop doing.

A number of the projects that I mentioned above that have started in the current Budget will continue into the 2023-2024 Budget. We are also looking into redoing the Tennis Courts at the Park. The only proposal we have received gives a cost of over $117,000 and we are discussing what our Town Crew can take on in the hope of lowering this. Another possible item is to purchase a large dump truck that will meet the requirements of VDOT for snow plowing but not require a Commercial Driver's License (CDL).  Securing your CDL has gotten more complicated and it is a challenge when hiring.

There are no Tax increases proposed for this Budget. We still struggle with collecting Personal Property Taxes and Vehicle Stickers from some of our residents. We will keep trying to correct this going forward.  Purchasing the Vehicle Sticker is one way that we have to collect unpaid Personal Property.

Last year Dominion Energy told us the municipal rate for electric was going up an average of 20%. We definitely saw that and more in some cases. We had projected this as an increase of around $11,500 for the electric at the Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants; we saw an additional increase of another $10,000. The Sewer Plant upgrade should help some once it is on-line.

Electric rates aren’t the only thing impacting Water and Sewer. Wages, Operating Contracts, Chemicals, Supplies, Repairs, new Regulations and additional Debt Service continue to cost more every year. We had to order new Membrane for one of our smaller water filters which has 6 membranes at a cost of $850 each. And they are manufactured in Australia which added around $1,000 in shipping charges. We ordered 12 more, plus some parts, for our larger filter at a cost of $15,430 and we still have 12 more to go in the coming months. On the bright side, the Membrane we are replacing have lasted us 10 years and actually, other than shipping charges, have not gone up in price. In addition to membrane replacement we are dealing with the age of the filters; the 3 smaller ones went on-line in 1998. They were retrofitted with new technology in 2009 when the one larger filter was added. Their age is causing us to need a filter technician to visit the Plant to trouble shoot some issues the operators can’t solve. The Tech will be on site for 3 days at a cost of over $9,600 just to tell us what we need to fix. I will stop whining now, but I hope that everyone realizes that there is nothing “cheap” about supplying water and sewer. And the additional Debt Service for the Sewer Plant Upgrade brings that realization home.

The Monthly Minimum Sewer charge for 3,000 gallons is proposed with an increase of $7.39 for sewer for in town customers. This increase is a requirement of the Town’s funding through USDA Rural Development which requires a Rate equal to 1.39% of median household income. Out of town customers will see an increase of $11.08.

The Monthly Minimum for Water is proposed with an increase of $0.31 for in town and $0.46 for out of town customers for 3,000 gal.

An increase of $0.15 is proposed for Trash pick up this year. The Town’s 5 year contract for trash service has a built-in cost of living increase that we must cover each year with our fees. We are able to keep our monthly tipping fees down with the Recycling Program; if you aren’t recycling, please consider starting. Contact the Town Office for more information.  The Enterprise Fund is proposed at $1,641,020.

Changes in the Minimum Wage that were long overdue gave us the push to adjust all wages in December 2022 and January 2023. Edinburg’s hard-working staff is still far from being overpaid.  With additional Minimum Wage Adjustments happening in January we have decided to make January 1 of each year our date to adjust wages. A 5% increase is proposed for fulltime employees and a 2% increase for part-time at 1/1/2024. There are a couple of exceptions on the timing of adjustments due to expected increases for new hires. The General Fund is proposed at $1,198,247.

Your Mayor, Dan Harshman