Lake Norman & Mooresville

No tax increase in preliminary Troutman budget

Property taxes will not be going up in Troutman if the preliminary 2015-2016 budget, unveiled April 6 at the town board’s budget workshop, is adopted.

Under the proposed budget, the tax rate for Troutman would remain 47 cents per $100 assessed value. For a home with a tax value of $150,000 the annual town tax bill would continue to be $705. Additional taxes are paid to Iredell County for services it provides. Barring any last minute changes, the $4.45 million spending plan would go into effect July l, following the legally required public hearing.

“Residential growth and an increased tax base as well as careful stewardship of taxpayer monies on the part of both town staff and council have enabled us to draft a balanced budget for next year without raising taxes,” said Town Manager Ann Bailie.

More than 56 percent of the town’s general fund revenues ($1.63 million) will come from property taxes next year, spurred in part by a number of residential developments that experienced post-recession growth. The next highest source of revenue is sales taxes, which are projected to bring in approximately $500,000 – 17 percent – of general fund revenues.

In addition to holding the line on taxes, the spending plan would also freeze sewer disposal rates. The town also proposes eliminating two fees: a $2 per month for water customers who live outside of the incorporated town limits and a $4 monthly trash charge imposed on customers.

There was also some good news for town employees in the budget: funds for a 3 percent salary increase.

The budget would also fund new playground equipment for the town park, absorb a 7 percent increase in insurance costs, and consolidate all recreation functions into the parks and recreation department.

At the workshop, Mayor Elbert Richardson asked that $2,000 for Friends of the Library be added to the budget. The town board members concurred with his request, which should not have any impact on the proposed tax rate.

The only increase that will affect consumers is a 2 percent increase in water fees, which will increase the in-town rate to $7.77 per 1,000 gallons; nonresidents who are served by the town pay double that rate. The increase is necessary to cover debt service on a 20-year, zero-interest loan used to replace aging water meters in various portions of the town.

In the current budget, which runs through June 30, Troutman taxpayers absorbed a 3 percent increase in property taxes, primarily to cover the costs of road and drainage improvement projects in the Lytton and Patterson streets areas of the town.

Dave Vieser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at davidvieser@gmail.com.

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