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No property tax hike in Kingston budget

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By Mike Gibson

By MIKE GIBSON
newsroom@roanecounty.com
Kingston officials are preparing for the first reading of a 2013-14 budget that seems to promise neither any big outlays nor any big new expenditures.
The draft is on Kingston City Council’s agenda for the regular monthly meeting on Tuesday.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in Kingston Community Center.
The proposed budget carries around $5.5 million in the general fund — close to the same in the water budget — and promises no new property taxes.
The only significant “new” expenses at this juncture would be a new emergency response vehicle for Kingston Fire Department, a new multi-purpose street sweeper/leaf collection machine for the street department and paving funds.
Both department have recently paid off other notes, said Mayor Troy Beets, so those purchases would not be much more of a drain than the debt service being paid on those prior notes in recent years.
The city puts money toward paving every year. But Beets said this allocation will be different, part of a concerted effort to shore up paving efforts in Kingston.
“We always put the money in there, but then that’s the first place we go when we need to take some money out and put it somewhere else,” Beets said.
“This year, we’ve made a commitment that it all goes into paving.”
In other work session business, Beets reported on Kingston’s solar farm projects on James Ferry  Road.
The 50-kw farm should be up in the coming week, while a planned nearby 200-kw farm is still on track.