Benson Commissioners Approve Budget

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The Benson Board of Commissioners approved the budget for fiscal year 2018-19 during its regular scheduled meeting Tuesday night. They also took steps ­— on a trial basis — to “Go Green.”

Nearly overshadowed by passage of the fiscal year budget, was a vote by commissioners to approve a 90-day trial with Metallum E Recycling.

The company is a metals and electronics recycling service provider with the mission of assisting with the end of useful life processing for electronics and recyclable scrap.

“Our new facility in Benson specializes in electronics recycling,” said Jack Xie, co-owner of Metallum. “We find recovery value in the material and outdated IT equipment in the electronics.”

Under the proposal, Metallum won’t charge fees for their services and a percentage of any money made will go back to the town for their efforts to “Go Green.”

Among the items residents or companies can bring to Metallum are desktop CPUs, laptops, laptop batteries, keyboards and mice, cellphones, tablets, MP3 players, circuit boards and computer wire.

They will not accept televisions, printers or fax machines of any kind.

Drop-off bins will be located at various locations around the town. They include town hall, the parks and recreation department and the library.

“We would take those materials over to the Metallum site,” Mr. Zapp said. “If there’s any revenue generated we would get a dividend check. Our proposal is take the dividend check and use it towards parks and rec because we’re moving forward with the field house.”

Mr. Zapp said the town has nothing to lose and the program will be a pilot for other communities.

“It’s a really great program they approached us about and it again puts Benson as a leader within Johnston County to provide those services at drop-off locations,” Mr. Zapp said. “We’re a beta test for Metallum to see if this will work for other communities.”

If the program, which will run July through August, is successful the commissioners will have the option to make it a permanent part of the community.

One service Metallum will provide to businesses is wiping clean of hard drives on computers turned in to the center at no cost to the business.

“As long as Benson notifies us these units need to be wiped,” Mr. Xie said. “And if you need proof, we can provide that as well.”

By a 5-0 vote, commissioners approved an $11.7 million budget that will see no increase in the current 54 cents per $100 of property valuation and a $1.50 increase in the water and sewer base rates and no increase in electric rates.

Because of the increase, a major project for the town is now complete. The USDA pump station project — which was around $3.1 million — included a new pump station and sanitary sewer line upgrades is completed and commissioners voted to close the loan documents and make the final payment.

Water base rates increase from $10 to $11.50 and sewer base rates rise from $11.50 to $13.

“The base rates in sewer are to absorb the USDA pump station payment and that was presented to this board three years ago,” town manager Matt Zapp said. “We split that into two phases, we did a $1.50 increase last July and a $1.50 increase this year. That will help us offset and make the $110,000 payment on the pump station.”

Mr. Zapp said the added $1.50 to the water rates are to cover costs to both repair and maintain the system.

“The increase in water is partially due to the cost increases in that line,” he said. “Water rates are going up and there’s also a need to maintain the system so there will be further improvements to the water lines.”

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