Exmore Poised To Approve $2.1 Million FY 2023 Budget

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By Stefanie Jackson – The Exmore Town Council held a public hearing Monday night on its $2.1 million fiscal year 2023 budget, which is expected to be approved at the next council meeting.

The balanced budget includes revenues of more than $1.4 million from taxes and fees and more than $600,000 from water, wastewater, and trash collection services.

Nearly all of the revenue from water, wastewater, and trash collection will be used to sustain those services. The taxes and fees collected will support Exmore’s public works and public safety departments and general government expenses.

During the regular public comment period, Gregory Johnson, a resident of Exmore’s New Road community, voiced concerned about activity at the two-story apartment buildings nearby.

He asserted the apartment buildings are not well-managed and starting to look rundown, and neighbors are being disturbed by activities such as holding barbecues as late as 11 p.m. or midnight.

Johnson said the apartments are not managed by New Road and asked the town to intercede to prevent the area from becoming unsafe and prone to gun violence. He also was concerned about falling property values.

Police Chief Angelo DiMartino noted the apartments now have managers who have indicated they will cooperate with Exmore’s police department in any way necessary. He added that the problem is not the tenants but their company.

The Town Council voted unanimously to submit two requests to the Virginia Department of Transportation: one for ditch maintenance on Crown Avenue, as requested by residents, and another for a crosswalk at the intersection of Main Street and Grayson Avenue, as requested by Little Hands Little Feet, a pediatric therapy clinic.

The Town Council also voted unanimously to amend Exmore’s employee handbook to prohibit handheld cellphone use while operating a town-owned vehicle.

Sewer Update

Director of Utilities Taylor Dukes reported the plans for Exmore’s sewer project are being finalized and the project should go to bid by the end of July.

All of the town’s sewer pipes will be replaced, and the system will be expanded to serve the entire town, approximately 900 customers, up from about 350 customers currently served.

Exmore’s sewer plant will be decommissioned, as it will no longer be needed. The town has partnered with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, which will build a force main to transport wastewater from Exmore and other localities to Onancock’s treatment facility, which has excess capacity.

Exmore is still pursuing grant funding to cover as much of its multimillion-dollar sewer project as possible and minimize borrowing.

The town has been notified that U.S. Sen. Mark Warner may be able to direct federal funding for infrastructure to Exmore for its sewer project. Dukes noted the town would have to provide matching funds and “have skin in the game.”

Duer said the town’s goal is to borrow just $3 million for the project, but it may have to borrow as much as $6 million.

Dukes, who is also Exmore’s zoning administrator, noted the town may want to consider “cleaning up” or demolishing one or more abandoned trailers in town to improve the appearance of the area and deter squatters.

He acknowledged the abandoned trailers are not the town’s responsibility but many property owners cannot afford demolition, which is costly. For example, Duer estimated that it would cost about $50,000 to demolish one delinquent structure near his home.

Dukes said Officer Chip Little has been largely successful in ensuring residents keep their properties free of trash and debris, but junk cars in yards are still a problem.

The town attorney, David Rowan, will draft an ordinance allowing Exmore to charge a fine of $100 per day for any abandoned vehicle on property in town. It will be one of the last tasks the attorney completes before his upcoming retirement.

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