The city of Concord’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year will keep spending and taxes unchanged.
The budget proposes spending $227.6 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which begins July 1, and would set the tax rate at 48 cents $100 valuation – both the same as this year.
Police, fire and transportation are some of the major expenditures in the budget. New police expenses total $415,138 and include funding for an additional officer, 10 tablets for school resource officers and installation of in-car cameras for police vehicles.
Concord’s fire expenses total $1.5 million, with their major expenditures being a new ladder truck and maintenance needs at city fire stations. Transportation costs total $1.2 million, for major projects such as the construction of a salt storage shed and resurfacing roads.
The budget also includes $8 million for the first year of a four-year plan to install Smart Grid Meters – which allows residents to monitor their energy and water use, eliminating the need to pay for meter readers – on homes and businesses in the city. The cost will be paid from reserves from the city’s water and electric funds.
City officials also included about $3 million that may not be spent, depending on action by the Legislature. City officials hope to receive about $1 million if the Legislature approves a replacement for local business privilege license revenues, which the Legislature killed last year. Another $2 million depends on whether the Legislature changes the way local sales tax revenue is distributed.
“Come this fall, there may be more decisions if we see a worse-case-scenario,” said City Manager Brian Hiatt. “There could be a best-case-scenario if they don’t mess with the sales tax at all, but the unknowns are the ones that have made this so difficult.”
“We’re doing what we have to do with hope that with the state there will be stability next year,” added Concord Mayor Scott Padgett. “Surely after last year and this year I don’t really believe they’ll do it, but I can hope we can have stability.”
The items in that $ 3 million include the replacement of a ladder truck for the Fire Department, renovations and upgrades to city buildings and some city-paid positions.
“The biggest thing I’m worried about are the maintenance issues,” Hiatt said. “Our citizens are just going to have to bear with us. The trade-off is no tax increase.”
Big projects affecting the proposed budget include construction of a new City Hall next to the current police headquarters and the relocation of Traffic Management Center. The old police headquarters will be demolished, and Traffic Management will be moved to a site at the Brown Operations Center.
The city plans to build a public park where the old headquarters are located.
The new City Hall will cost roughly $20 million, which will be paid through at about $1.5 million annually during 20 years. The relocation of Traffic Management will cost $1.9 million, but will come out of the city’s transportation project fund, which is partially funded from tax dollars.
A budget workshop will be held at 4 p.m. June 9 to discuss the Smart Grid Meter Project. The budget hearing will be held at 6 p.m. June 11. Concord will approve and adopt the budget for fiscal year 2015-16 at 5 p.m. June 29. All meetings will be held at the Concord Township Municipal Building, 26 Union Street S. For details, go to http://www.concordnc.gov/budget.