IRON GATE — Town Council unveiled its proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget Thursday evening during its regular April meeting.

The $267,520 budget plan includes no tax increases. The tax rate on real estate and mobile homes will remain at 21 cents per $100 of assessed value, while the personal property and machinery and tools tax will stay at 50 cents.

The Utility Account budget is based on no changes in the rate charged for water. The sewer usage fee will increase $5.75, bringing the monthly rate to $68.75 for 4,000 gallons.

Council held a rather lengthy discussion on the proposed budget Thursday evening.

“This has been a horrible budget cycle,” said Mayor Chuck Unroe. “The worst one I’ve had to sit in on.”  

There will be no pay raises, and there will be no contingency plan.  

“Nobody on the Budget Committee is happy (about the budget),” added Unroe.

Other council members weighed in on the upcoming budget.

“We did the very best that we could,” said Councilwoman Kawahna Persinger.  

“With the little amount we have for the town, we only raised what we had to,” added Councilwoman Ashley Nicely.  

“We cut everything that we could possibly cut,” said Town Clerk/Treasurer Wendy Biggs.  “There was nothing left to cut. We did everything we possibly could.”

The proposed budget will be presented at a public hearing during the next scheduled council meeting on Thursday, May 27. 

Approval of the budget will be considered at the June meeting.

The new budget year begins on July 1.

Councilpersons Persinger, James Mays and Vice Mayor Richard Erskine attended Thursday’s meeting in person while Councilors Ashley Prior, Nicely and Donny Hall attended electronically.  

After an innovation by the Rev. David Hanks of the Iron Gate Baptist Church and the Pledge of Allegiance to begin Thursday’s meeting, Unroe opened sealed bids — in the order they were received — and read eight separate bids for a 1979 fire truck listed as surplus.

The highest bid of  $2,550 was received from James Price of Old School Salvage Company and Repairs. 

Later, in the meeting, council voted unanimously to accept Price’s bid.  

The other bids ranged from $500 to 1,623.50, and after accepting Price’s bid, Unroe thanked everybody who showed an interest in the old fire truck and submitted their bids.

During his Mayor’s Report, Unroe reported:

— that the water line on Tannery Road had been “put in and everything is working,” said Unroe.  

He extended thanks to the Public Works employees, Garten Trucking and the wastewater treatment plant “for working with us,” and the town of Iron Gate for their “cooperation.” 

“What was supposed to be a week took about a month,” said Unroe of the water line repair.  

— that extensive cleanup efforts are underway on the two properties declared nuisance properties.  

As long as the clean-up efforts continue enforcement will be halted. 

— that a date will be set for a cleanup day in Iron Gate at council’s next work session; 

— that the town is coming to the end of the recycling contract with Jackson River Enterprises. 

“We probably won’t have a bin in June,” Unroe said.

The town doesn’t have the funds to pay for a private contractor, Unroe explained.

“Council is open to options, ideas and suggestions,” said Unroe.

— That alleys need attention after the winter season. 

Unroe asked for patience “as the town employees were involved with the water leak that had to be fixed.”

In other action, council:

— Approved the minutes from the regular meeting held on March 25 and the work session on April 19, as recorded;

— Approved receipts, disbursements and the payment of bills, as presented; 

— Scheduled the next work session for May 17 and the next council meeting, with a public hearing, on May 27.