Statesville taxpayers received a last-minute reprieve from a proposed 5 percent increase in property taxes during a City Council budget workshop on June 11.
After hearing some new revenue estimates, the council members decided to hold the tax rate at the current 41 cents per $100 of assessed value in the 2015-16 city budget. That decision was ratified when the council adopted the proposed budget the following Monday.
The new budget will take effect July 1.
However, a 3 percent increase in water and sewer rates included in the adopted $91.3 million spending plan remained.
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The increase is needed to cover both operating and capital expenses, as well as anticipated debt service in future years to fund a major expansion of the city’s Third Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
For the average residential customer, the increase should amount to approximately $18 annually.
Nodding to concerns expressed by a number of residents during the budget public hearing, the council lowered the electric reconnection fees from $50 to $25 during business hours and from $100 to $75 for after hours.
In addition, the council authorized a 3 percent residential electric rate reduction effective Aug. 1 if a proposed bond refinancing by the North Carolina Municipal Power Agency is successfully completed.
The council also made a slight change on the suggested 3.5 percent pay increase for city workers, choosing instead to award a 2 percent, across-the-board raise July 1 and hold the remaining 1.5 percent for merit raises that will be retroactive to July 1.
The budget includes funds for a new police records management system, four new police vehicles, and a continuation of the city’s street paving program.
The $4.51 million spending plan, which was adopted at the town board’s June 11 meeting, freezes the tax rate at 47 cents per $100 of assessed value. For a home with a tax value of $150,000, the annual town tax bill would continue to be $705.
According to Town Manager Ann Bailie, more than half of the town’s general fund revenues will come from property taxes next year, spurred in part by of residential developments that have experienced post-recession growth.
“Funding is also included in the budget for completion of the Main Street Traffic Circulation Study, continued updating and rewriting of the town’s Unified Development Ordinance, purchase of a golf cart for use at special events and activities held at Troutman ESC Park, new playground equipment and replacement of equipment in the Public Works Department,” Bailie said.
Residents in both communities also pay property taxes to Iredell County for other municipal services, including public education.
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.