Halifax Town Council plans to have the first reading of the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget when they meet Tuesday in Halifax Town Hall.

The meeting is set to get underway immediately following their 6:30 p.m. worksession.

After entering into their regular meeting, council members are expected to review the budget that has no recommended tax hikes from the finance committee.

Bill Covington, finance committee chair, said the town has a tight budget with little leeway.

At one point, Covington said the town was considering raising its tax rates but decided against it for the upcoming budget year because of the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that while now is not the right time to raise tax rates, it will have to be done eventually.

Following the first reading, council is slated to set approval and appropriation of the budget at a June 24 meeting.

In other business, council is expected to hold a public hearing to consider leasing a space in the Halifax Marketplace, home of the Halifax Farmer’s Market, to Vincenzo Ruotolo-Sarnataro to operate an Italian restaurant.

“I proposed to town council a small Italian restaurant with some seating outside. So far the town of Halifax likes the idea,” said Ruotolo-Sarnataro. “I look forward to bringing my restaurant expertise to Halifax.”

Council voted unanimously last month to set a public hearing on the proposed lease.

If the lease is approved, Ruotolo-Sarnataro will operate his Italian restaurant in a portion of The Halifax Marketplace property, and the remainder of the property will still function as the Halifax Farmers Market.

For starters, Ruotolo-Sarnataro said the menu at his Italian restaurant would include subs such as cheese steaks, salads and pasta dinners such as spaghetti and lasagna, and items would be added to the menu based on customer demand. He said the restaurant would be open for lunch and dinner, and closed on Sundays.

“Viny has a great track record for launching successful businesses and restaurants in the area, so we are fortunate that he approached us about this,” said Halifax town manager Carl Espy. “It (the restaurant) will work very well with the operations of the farmers market, and I think it will be a great benefit to the town.”

In other matters, council is expected to review the Halifax Police Department’s monthly report and hear from the heads of the finance committee, business development committee and current affairs committee during the worksession.