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Town OKs 2004 Budget

The Vienna Town Council agreed unanimously Monday to approve the town's budget for the 2003-2004 fiscal year. Effective July 1, 2003, the budget will include a one-cent reduction in the real estate tax property rate from 28.5 cents to 27.5 cents, as well as an increase in water and sewer rates.

The total budget of Vienna, which includes the general fund, the water and sewer fund, and the debt service, is $23,219,572.

Because of the rising costs of the supplier, Vienna's water rate will increase to 27 cents per 1,000 gallons. The sewer rate will increase 23 cents per 1,000 gallons. The average Vienna homeowner may see about a $50 increase in their bill, said town manager John Schoeberlein.

"If our citizens are paying more than double than what others are paying, then it's too high," said town councilwoman Edythe Kelleher on the rate increases. She suggested that staff and council look into reducing rates for next year.

Schoeberlein replied that he and public works director Dennis King have already begun to research other suppliers.

The town council also agreed to set June 16 as the date to adopt three ordinances. They include raising the cigarette tax from 30 cents to 50 cents per pack, adjusting the schedule of fees, and amending town code on architectural design code regarding application fees.

The cigarette tax cap for cities and towns is 50 cents per pack, while the county's cap is 5 cents per pack.

"It is revenue we do need," Schoeberlein said of the cigarette tax raise.