Roanoke City Council has approved the budget for the city's 2020-21 fiscal year. The council unanimously accepted the budget at the Sept. 28 council meeting.

The numbers show an increase of over $500,000 in expected revenue for the city over the current year, with a $200,000 increase in expenditures.

Expected expenditures total just over $6.7 million, with the increase coming mostly from the maintenance and street departments for budgeted equipment purchases and from the debt service on last year's LaFayette Highway paving project.

The main source of the city's revenue comes from municipal sales tax. The tax supplies more than half ($4.1 million) of the city's expected revenue of just over $7.9 million.

The budget projects that revenues will exceed expenditures by over $1.1 million.

Here is a breakdown of how the city plans to spend its money over the next year:

  • Mayor's office: $28,008
  • City Clerk's office: $727,377
  • Elected officials: $65,402
  • Nutrition Department: $48,482
  • Cemetery: $29,100
  • Maintenance Department: $185,591
  • Street Department: $793,440
  • Recreation Department: $437,505
  • Library: $169,045
  • Court: $181,742
  • Police: $2,043,573
  • Code enforcement: $1,000
  • Fire Department: $111,131
  • Garbage pickup: $630,000
  • Appropriations: $394,500
  • Capital outlay: $11,000
  • Debt service: $873,008

Existing and potential problems

During the reports from the different departments at Monday's council meeting, the council was informed of two issues within the city that will need to be rectified at some point in the near future.

The first was the traffic light at LaFayette Highway and Main Street. The light and the electronic controls that operate it are outdated, which have led to some recent performance issues. The city's maintenance department was told that the light will continue to function, but adjustments to its timing can no longer be made. Also future power outages could lead to it being permanently disabled, which would create the need for a four-way stop at the intersection.

The long-term solution for the traffic light is to replace it with a newer model at an estimated cost of $60,000.

Mayor Mike Fisher said the city should consider replacing the light before it goes out, which led to a brief discussion about where the money would come from to do so.

The second issue is a significant leak in the roof of the recreation center on West Point Street. An assessment of the nature of the leak and the structure of the roof showed that patching the leaking spot would not be a feasible solution and that the entire roof should be replaced. The estimated cost of doing that would be around $90,000.

Recreation department director Jerri Gabriel pointed out that the roof leak is not the only problem with the aging building and that instead of pouring money into building repairs, the city should start working on a plan for a new recreation center building.

No official action was taken on either matter.

Nuisance properties

The city declared eight properties as nuisance properties, which clears the way for the city to take action to clean them up as needed. The properties are located on Striplin Street, Lucky Street, Mulberry Street, Wilkie Clark Drive, Omaha Road and three locations on Randolph Street.

Fall on Main

The Chamber of Commerce reminded the council of this weekend's Fall on Main festival, which will go from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Roanoke. The festival will also include a concert at the downtown theater beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Pay increases

The council spent approximately 30 minutes in executive session discussing the good name and character of an individual. After the executive session the council agreed to modest pay raises for two city employees, increasing their hourly rate to the next highest dollar. They also agreed to set the pay rate for the city's court clerk at $13 an hour.

Trick or treating

Roanoke set its designated trick or treat times for October 31 from 5-8 p.m.

Homes that wish to participate in trick or treating should leave their front porch light off, while trick or treaters are instructed to bypass homes without their porch light on.

At the Dec. 7 meeting of Roanoke City Council, local NAACP president Delvan Houston presented the council and Mayor Jill Hicks with a list of …

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