Fire and Police departments will also receive new equipment this year.
Commissioners on Tuesday approved the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget for the town of Lake Waccamaw.
The General Fund is $1,327,146, and the Water and Sewer Fund is $1,284,592. Sanitation comes in at $270,768. The current budget will maintain the tax rate at $.20 per $100. Residents will also not see extra fees this year.
Town Manager Damon Kempski gave his thanks to the board for the cooperation in making and balancing the financial plan.
“The efforts from department heads to (Town clerk Meredith) Parker and from you all, for us to be able to do this, is the best that I have encountered,” stated Kempski.
Employees will receive a five percent pay increase, and both the police and fire departments will be purchasing new equipment.
Fire Chief Brandy Nance detailed some of the needs at Lake Waccamaw Fire and Rescue.
The town has budgeted for seven self-contained breathing apparatus (SCUBA) units, a new fire hose, and a Fire Enforcer, a compact unit used to apply foam to fire. Funds were also appropriated for first responder costs.
The department is preparing for their upcoming ISO inspection on June 20. An ISO fire rating is a score provided to fire departments and insurance companies by the Insurance Services Office.
The score reflects how prepared a community and area is for fires, and it ranges between 1-10. The lower the score, the better the community’s insurance rating. The area’s current score is 4.9.
Nance said the department is raising money for a personal water craft (PWC) not included in the town budget.
She explained previously about the positive impact the PWC would bring after the second drowning event at the Lake in recent weeks.
“Having a jet ski in the water can save 10 to 12 minutes response time. Minutes can make a big difference in saving someone’s life.” said the chief.
The department will hold a boot drop and its annual hotdog fundraiser on July 2. T-shirts are also being sold at Town Hall and at the fire station to help raise money for the jet ski.
Lake Waccamaw police will be donning new duds with the purchase of ballistic vests. The fiscal year budget will include the garments, a new radar gun, and a radar sign. The town also funded a salary for a currently open patrol officer’s position.
The commissioners also had several high notes for the evening.
In January, resident Valerie Riege asked permission from the town to paint pickle ball lines on existing tennis courts at Elizabeth Brinkley Park. She recently completed one set of those lines. The town has plans to refinish the playing area in the future, and assured Riege that her hard work will not be erased in the process. Those lines will be replaced so residents can continue to enjoy the sport.
Lake Waccamaw also made a proclamation to declare June 14 as International Widow’s Day.
Megan Kopka, leader of the Cape Fear chapter, spoke about the importance of the support group for women and men who have lost their significant others.
“Widows face economic financial challenges along with relational and emotional health challenges,” said Kopka.
Amy Malpass of the Honey Hill community filed for the proclamation on behalf of the organization. She stated that on Honey Hill Road where she lives, there are six widows and two widowers in less than a mile.
“It is more prevalent than you realize,” said Malpass. “I’m trying to help raise awareness to what this wonderful organization has done for me.”
Commissioner Rosemary Dorsey, whose mother is a widow, read the proclamation on behalf of the town.
Dorsey also gave an update about the bike and pedestrian plan study at the Lake. She quashed rumors about sidewalks and pathways being constructed on personal property throughout the town. She wanted to make it clear that the plan will have no impact on landowners.
Resident Don Delisle addressed town leaders about stagnant water sitting behind his home on Waccamaw Shores. He was concerned about the water not flowing as it does on Canal Cove Road and causing swamp-like conditions in his backyard.
Mayor Matt Wilson explained the water was blocked from running in that direction to keep residents on Waccamaw Shores from being flooded out during natural disasters, but he asked Utility Supervisor Robert Bailey to look into what the town could do to help Delisle.