Davidson residents will see no change in town property tax bills or fees for trash collection and other services in the new budget year that begins July 1.
The $9.9 million budget approved by commissioners June 9 keeps the property tax rate at 35 cents per $100 of assessed value. That means the owner of a $200,000 home or property would pay $700 in town taxes for the year.
The 6.5 percent increase in spending would be the largest increase in several years and a sign of the recovering economy, said Town Manager Leamon Brice, whose work on the budget will be his last. Brice will retire Dec. 31 after 24 years in that role. It also was the last budget for Finance Director Cindy Jones, who is retiring this month after three years with the town.
“Always the worst part of (of being town manager) was the budget, except for the last few years,” Brice said as he looked into the audience at Jones. “Your last budget, last board meeting. I’m so jealous.”
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Ten percent of the new budget will go to cover continued deficits at MI-Connection, the cable company owned jointly by the towns of Davidson and Mooresville. The town’s agreement with Mooresville limits Davidson’s responsibility for filling MI-Connection’s financial gaps to $1 million a year.
MI-Connection is projecting $4.1 million in losses for the fiscal year beginning July 1. That’s down from $4.8 million this year, but would drive the company’s total deficits since its creation in 2009 past the $40 million mark.
Highlights of the town’s new budget include:
▪ Funding that would allow for an average 4 percent, merit-based pay raise for town employees.
▪ The addition of a firefighter to staff the Odell Fire Department Station 2 on Shiloh Church Road.
▪ A pay classification and staffing-level study to ensure that the town is “able to retain employees and make the best use of employee skills and abilities.”
▪ Forensic and property management software for the Police Department, document management software for the town administration, a pickup truck for Public Works Department and public information software.
▪ Pedestrian walking lights on Main Street near the Flatiron Grill, and improvements to Roosevelt Wilson and other town parks.
Under a fee schedule also approved by commissioners, owners of single-family homes will continue to pay $201 a year for trash and recycling service, while residents of multi-family units will be charged $60 annually.
Brice said continued adjustments to property values due to the county’s review of its 2011 revaluation have slowed revenue growth, but he likes what he sees for the town after his retirement.
“Factors such as revenue increases, completion of the revaluation review, improvement in the MI-Connection financial situation and a stable fund balance are good signs for our future,” Brice said. “With continued growth in the economy, the town’s goal of financial stability and responsible stewardship would certainly be achieved.”
John Deem is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for John? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.