Harrisburg’s budget for fiscal 2014 is 3 percent smaller than last year, yet it includes construction of a new fire station and nearly $2 million in utility infrastructure upgrades to address the town’s stormwater issues.The Town Council on June 10 unanimously adopted the budget, which also includes funding for a public information officer, improvements to the Town Hall and N.C. 49, economic development activities, and new street and way-finding signs.The budget also maintains the tax rate at 27 cents per $100 property valuation. It doesn’t increase water or sewer rates, stormwater fees or other operational fees.The budget totals $22.1 million for its general fund and two enterprise funds. That’s a 3.1 percent decrease compared to fiscal 2013. It includes $16 million for operating expenses and $6.1 million for multiyear capital improvements. Town administrator Michael Rose said the budget focused on getting departments to operate more efficiently, maintaining service levels and absorbing increased expenses. “To that end, I feel this budget accomplishes what it set out to do by not raising taxes and not cutting back on service levels,” said Rose. “Like everyone else, we are faced with addressing rising costs for the provision of services, as well as factors outside our control.”While the economy, growth, and state and federal regulations play a role in determining the need for tax increases, Rose said, the town’s goal is to look at all alternatives before considering raising taxes. “Until we see how the outside influences will impact the town, it is hard to say when a future tax increase is likely to occur,” said Rose. The tax rate was increased last year to its current rate, which amounts to a $540 tax bill on a $200,000 home.Town Council member Chad Baucom said a big highlight of the budget is that it maintains the tax rate without any proposed increases in other fees.“The tax rate for Harrisburg residents is substantially lower than that of Concord, Kannapolis or Mount Pleasant,” said Baucom. “The town is well-positioned to maintain current service levels.”Besides breaking ground on the proposed Harrisburg Fire Department Station No. 3 – the new station will help reduce response times for residents of western Harrisburg – the town also will provide additional support to its parks and recreation programs.“(Those programs) play an important role in the quality of life for many of our residents,” said Baucom. “If you have a son or daughter in one of our youth sports programs, you’ve certainly seen the high demand for our sports fields. “My hope is that this year we can focus on increasing the amount of field space,” Baucom said, “allowing us to reduce or eliminate the overcrowding that can often take place during youth sporting events.”Town Council member Jeff Phillips said the budget is beneficial for residents and businesses. “There (are) no cuts in services that the town provides, and we have created an open job position to help us communicate to our residents better,” said Phillips. “I don’t see anything negative about this budget.“There has been a lot of hard collaborative work between departments from the town’s staff, which helped mightily in keeping costs and expenses down, and that helped make our decision real easy.”
Friday, Jun. 14, 2013
Harrisburg council adopts budget with no tax increase
Harrisburg’s budget at a glance • The town’s budget for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1, totals $22.1 million for its general fund and two enterprise funds. The Town Council unanimously adopted the budget June 10. • The budget includes $16 million for operating expenses and $6.1 million for multiyear capital improvements. • The budget has decreased by 3.1 percent overall compared to fiscal 2013, which ends June 30. • The fiscal 2014 budget maintains the tax rate of 27 cents per $100 property valuation. • There will be no increase in water or sewer rates, stormwater fees, or for programs and other operational fees.
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