Lake Norman & Mooresville

Cornelius tax rate rises; Huntersville, Davidson rates unchanged

Greg Ferguson
Greg Ferguson Courtesy of Greg Ferguson

Elected officials in three townsin northern Mecklenburg County recently approved budgets for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Those budgets will go into effect July 1.

Following is a summary, by town, of the 2016-2017 budgets:

Cornelius

The town tax rate rises 1.5 cents to 25.5 cents per $100 valuation with the general fund budget increasing from $19.9 million to 21.6 million.

Town manager Anthony Roberts says the additional tax revenue ($765,000 a year with the current property valuation) will be placed in a capital reserve fund for transportation related projects.

“Over the next five years, NCDOT has $127 million of road improvements planned in the town. That’s more than we’ve had in the whole history of the town, and we’ve been here since 1905,” said Roberts.

NCDOT expects the town to contribute $11 million toward the work, and Roberts says voters will be asked to approve a transportation bond in the next year or two.

Other debt related-capital expenses include $1.3 million to help construct a new public works facility to consolidate town staff, $231,000 for new police patrol vehicles, $80,000 for public works equipment and $56,000 for park and recreation department trucks.

Davidson

The town tax rate remains the same at 35 cents per $100 valuation with the budget increasing from $9.8 million to $10.5 million.

Highlights include adding several employees and funding for a 4 percent merit-based increase for employees. The new budget also establishes a Capital Projects Fund for future debt service payments.

The new budget does not include money for the Public Works Phase 1 project or Fire Station 2, but funding for those projects is projected to come from the town’s fund balance or through installment financing.

“The Davidson Board of Commissioners worked diligently to balance staffing needs, immediate capital needs, and saving for the ‘bigger ticket’ capital needs of the town in the FY 2016-2017 budget. This budget adds police officers, firefighters, planning staff and an HR professional,” said Davidson finance director Pieter Swart.

“Commissioners set aside over $200,000 to fund future capital projects. This amounts to about one third of FY 2016-2017’s projected revenue growth being earmarked for the many capital needs the town is considering. The board focused on the priorities they set for Davidson in the town’s strategic plan, and made sure our citizens’ service needs are met in 2017 and beyond.”

Huntersville

Town manager Greg Ferguson says the town tax rate remains the same at 30.5 cents per $100 valuation, the lowest tax rate of the largest 20 cities in North Carolina. The $34.8 million general fund budget includes money for the first interest payment on an $8.67 million bond sale set for August.

Four million dollars will be used to help with Main Street improvements and another $3.5 million will be used to construct a fire station.

Ferguson says years of conservative financial planning is paying off.

“We have two very large street projects that are currently underway: Main Street improvements and the N.C. 21/Gilead intersection. There has already been $2.8 million spent to ready these projects for construction. Most of the cost has been in land acquisition. There is no tax increase projected at this time as we have been planning for years,” said Ferguson.

“This operating budget provides the resources through which the town can maintain our municipal services, invest in needed infrastructure, and continue the quality of life currently enjoyed in our community.”

Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: m.johnston@carolina.rr.com.

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