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SPSA to consider budget Thursday

The proposed 2009-2010 budget is on the table for the Southeastern Public Service Authority board of directors to consider at its Thursday meeting.

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Tyler Room of the Chesapeake Conference Center, 900 Greenbrier Circle, Chesapeake.

The budget, which was presented at the April 22 board meeting, includes no salary increases, trims 85 staff positions and makes $32 million in debt payments.

The plan also includes an allowance of $1.32 million for legal and consultant costs, an amount that is more than double what was set aside last year. SPSA Executive Director Rowland Taylor said the authority expects to use legal and consultant services more this year, therefore necessitating a higher budget amount.

The budget is based on a $170-per-ton tipping fee for municipal waste, which was adopted in a separate vote at April’s meeting. Suffolk still pays no tipping fees in exchange for hosting the regional landfill. Virginia Beach — which pays the full tipping fee and then receives a rebate for what it paid minus its cap — will be deferring its rebate through June 2010. The budget proposes raising Virginia Beach’s cap from $53.88 to $56.01 for two years, resulting in estimated revenue increase of about $313,110. The authority intends to pay the city back for that increase in the future, Taylor said.

The budget also includes $775,000 to be deposited into a contingency fund. The budget assumes that the authority will own the waste-to-energy plant for the entire year, although negotiations to sell the plant could be completed much sooner. In the event of a sale, a revised budget would be worked out, Taylor told the board in April.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the board will consider adopting new purchasing policies and procedures. A new law passed by the General Assembly this year requires that SPSA obtain board approval for all contracts over $30,000 for the purchase of goods and services, unless there is only one source of the contract, or if the situation is an emergency.