Badin approves town budget
By Imari Scarbrough
for the SNAP
The Badin Town Council unanimously approved its 2018-19 budget on June 12, spending a significant amount of time discussing its plans for economic development.
While many other towns pass a full budget with specific line items, Badin approves a budget ordinance that allows departments to spend up to the full amount allotted for them. If a department is under budget in one area but at risk of going over in another, they could shift the funds within the department without requesting individual small budget amendment approval from the council.
Each department still maintains its own budget with individual line items. For example, the ordinance the council approved simply notes that the parks and recreation department has a budget of $38,500. The actual budget details the specific amounts in each line item ($21,000 for community clean-up, $3,000 for special events, $1,000 for Christmas lights, etc.)
The council approved $828,205 in total expenditures for the general fund. Of that, $208,250 is allotted to the administration department, $385,580 for the public safety department, $195,875 for the public works department and $38,500 for the parks and recreation department.
The money is based on estimated income from a variety of sources including property taxes, sales and use tax, utility franchise tax, alcohol tax and others.
The budget also sets aside $255,150 for Powell Bill expenses. That money will be used for projects within the street department, and will be drawn from the Powell Bill, interest and $200,000 of appropriated fund balance.
The tax rate is $0.42 per $100 valuation.
Town Manager Jay Almond said he spoke with Crystal Morphis, founder of Creative Economic Development Consulting, and said he felt the company was a good one. But the proposal he received from the company for Badin wasn’t necessarily the best fit for the town’s goals, he said.
Morphis said the company would still provide recommendations on the materials Almond provided, giving ideas on expanding the town’s branding efforts, updating its Main Street business development plan, and other projects.
“I say these things to say I believe whole-heartedly that Creative Economic Development Consulting is a good group and I believe that we are getting some good feedback from them, but that their actual deliverables didn’t sound like they met what the board has asked for,” Almond said, noting again Morphis did have several good ideas.
The council unanimously voted to have Almond ask Retail Strategies of Birmingham, Alabama to attend the July meeting of the council to see if its services would suit the town’s needs.
Councilman Ryan Hatley asked if the company solely supplied consulting for retail development.
Almond said that while he believes the company doesn’t offer a full service, in addition to consulting it does offer a “targeted, specific list” of possible industries based on the company’s findings on the town.
“You’re asking the right people the right way, is what that sort of documentation is,” Almond said.
Almond said the company seems “aware that no one size fits all” for retail development strategies.
The town set $11,000 aside in its FY 2018-19 budget specifically for economic development.
Sgt. Steven Butler said that since the last meeting, the department has sent 33 code violation notices, 29 of them for high grass.
But the department does more than get involved in code enforcement, he said. A Badin officer recently responded to a shooting on Grant Street and was credited with saving the victim’s life thanks to a rapid response and first aid, Butler said.
He also displayed a handful of kits that he said had been donated by Chris Murphy, who owns a company based in Harrisburg which carries first aid equipment. Murphy donated some equipment to the Badin Police Department for free, Butler said.
“This equipment was instrumental in saving our shooting victim over here,” Butler said.
Following the shooting, the department asked Murphy about buying more kits, and Murphy donated four vehicle response kits with a value of at least $300, Butler said. The vehicle kits include tourniquets, scissors, blood clotting supplies and others.
“In those situations, minutes mean life or death, and having the right equipment makes a difference,” Butler said.
He asked the council to thank Murphy for his donations.
Butler also told the council that the department carries NARCAN, a nasal spray of nalaxone to treat opioid overdoses, and that the department made its first confirmed save using the drug on June 11.
The department also recently partnered with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety to hold a drug interdiction at the prison. The operation netted some drug and motor vehicle violations, he said.
“There’s a lot of emotion that goes on behind the high grass and all that, but there’s a lot that goes on that people don’t realize that we do, and I wanted to make sure to compliment the department on those things, as well,” Butler said.
“I don’t mean for this to sound comical, but what’s going on with the buzzards?” Councilman Ernest Peoples asked, noting that he has seen a large amount of buzzards in the area. “They’re everywhere!”
Several other council members agreed.
Almond said they tend to gather from Falls Road across to a wooded area on Grant Street. He said Badin used to have one type of buzzard but now has two types in the area, contributing to the larger population. He believes the smaller type, which he described as looking like an “oversized crow,” began to appear in about the last two years.
A wildlife officer can kill one of the birds and hang it from a tree to deter other buzzards, but since Almond doesn’t “want to hang 1,000 buzzards all over town,” the solution isn’t ideal.
“The problem is there are other places they congregate, so you’re going to be chasing them around, hanging dead birds everywhere,” Almond said as the council laughed. “I just didn’t consider it a legitimate approach to wildlife management in the town.”
Almond said he believes that by law, they cannot be hunted. They may be deterred by noise, he said, but he hasn’t tried it himself.
“I don’t know that it’s unique to us, but it’s unusual, and certainly because of our close-knit proximity it’s easy for one, or two, or 20 or 50 birds to be a problem for a lot of people at one time,” Almond said.
While there were no major updates on pending code enforcement cases, council members did make a few requests for checks by the code enforcement officer. Most of the cases concerned properties with high grass and weeds.
The council tentatively approved an event permit application submitted by Mayor Pro tem Deloris Chambers, who plans to hold the 25th anniversary celebration of Teens Making a Difference July 27-28.
Chambers founded the organization in 1993, the same year she was elected to the town council. The goal of the group is to help teenagers become “productive citizens,” she said. Over the years, the organization has had teens listen to speakers from the police department, participate in a cooking class, hear from a health department representative, learn to apply for jobs and more.
Teens Making a Difference also has a scholarship fund. During the planned celebration, there will be a member reunion and activities, and a scholarship will be awarded, Chambers said.
The event permit application was approved pending completed event insurance by the organization.
Imari Scarbrough is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News and Press.