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Village budget allocates $824,000 for work on park

Chairman Ron Redmon makes a point during a Flat Rock park advisory committee. Chairman Ron Redmon makes a point during a Flat Rock park advisory committee.

FLAT ROCK — The Village of Flat Rock plans to spend up to $1.3 million in its upcoming fiscal year to buy and begin development of its new park. It won't raise taxes to do it.

EdLasteinEd Lastein, a landscape architect, answers questions at a Flat Rock Park advisory committee meeting.Village Councilman Dave Bucher, the council's budget officer, presented a proposed $2,513,212 fiscal year 2013-14 budget on June 3 during a council work session. No one raised any objection to Bucher's proposed spending plan, which citizens can comment on during a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 13.
The budget keeps the town tax rate of 8.4 cents per $100 valuation, which includes the amount the village collects from three fire districts that cover the town — Blue Ridge, Valley Hill and Green River.
Mayor Robert Staton said the no-new taxes budget is possible because the village is not yet incurring the cost of operations and maintenance of the park, the Highland Lake Golf Club property. The golf course remains open through Sept. 30. The village expects to close on the $1.15 million purchase the last week of June and take position in November.
"We had always planned to take the money out of the reserves to purchase that park and develop it," Staton said. "Now eventually down the road we will have to include operating expenses for which we collect taxes, ad valorem taxes and sales taxes."
The proposed 2013-14 budget appropriates $475,000 for the purchase; $545,000 of the price will come out of the current year's budget. It sets aside $823,700 for improvements.
The new Park Development Advisory Committee held its first meeting on Monday and began to shape its work in advising the Village Council on park improvements. Councilman Bucher, who is also a Village Council liaison to the park committee, presented the budget details.
"I'm in way trying to tell you how to spend it," he said. "There's only one number that's sacred and that's the bottom line" — $823,700.
The advisory panel said it may close the golf course parking lot while construction is under way to block people from using the park before it's ready. The Village Council has hired Flat Rock landscape architect Ed Lastein as a consultant for park design and development. The advisory board elected Ginger Brown and Ron Redmon co-chairs.