No property tax increase, but water fee raise proposed in Town budget
By ANGELA FARR KING
The Taylorsville Town Council met on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. for their second scheduled meeting this month. Mayor George Holleman opened the meeting with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Council members voted to enter into a public hearing in order to review the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23. This was the first reading of the proposed budget.
Town Manager David Odom reviewed the budget for those in attendance. The overall budget is proposed in the amount of $4,920,261, with two main budget categories, including the General Fund and the Enterprise (water and sewer) Fund. The budget reflects a 1.4% increase from last year’s overall budget of $4,851,814.
The proposed General Fund budget reflects an estimated 0.9% increase, which will be met with revenues from the American Rescue Plan Proceeds, improved local sales tax revenues, and ABC (alcohol) revenues. It is important to note that the property tax rate has remained at 40 cents per $100 valuation, which is much lower than many other full-service towns in the Unifour region.
The proposed budget for the Water & Sewer Fund totals $2,481,311. Odom explained that water rates are proposed to slightly increase due to this fund being underfunded for the past two years. This has been due to a loss of revenue from Alexander Correctional Institute and Alexander County Schools. Odom noted that the Council can only set rates once per year and cannot increase rates throughout the year. He said the average customer can expect to pay approximately $11 more each month for water.
The second reading of the proposed budget will be held at the next Town Council meeting on Tuesday, June 28, in a public hearing.
The Council then considered a request from the NC Department of Transportation to certify State Road 1605 (South Center Street) as a 25 MPH speed zone. This was in the form of a Municipal Declaration to enact the speed zone within the corporate limits of Taylorsville. This does not change the speed limit on this road. It just changes it into a Municipal Declaration.
Mayor Holleman addressed the meeting attendees about complaints the Council has received concerning the condition of back streets and an alley north of the buildings on East and West Main Avenue in Taylorsville. He would like the public to be aware that the Town does not own these properties; therefore, the Town does not have the right to maintain them. Some of these areas are in disrepair, but are privately owned, so the Town of Taylorsville does not make improvements on them.
The police department was reimbursed for radios in the amount of $21,640.32. This was one of two grants that the police department applied for and was awarded.
Aaron Wike, Public Works Manager, explained that the Lewittes-Sitting Pretty 90 East Lift Station has been running on a portable bypass pump. One of the pumps is repairable for an amount of $8,000. The other pump is not repairable, so a new pump and adapter have been ordered at a cost of $18,000, with a 6-10 week projected delivery. The bypass pump rental is $3,400 per month, plus fuel. There will also be charges for removal and installation. This required the transfer of $43,100 from one line item to another in the General Fund.
The Council also voted to transfer $19,568 from the Water and Sewer Fund to the Solar Panel Farm Fund for completion. The completion of this project should ultimately offset the costs for the Town of Taylorsville to Duke Energy.
David Odom reported that Ms. Anna Alexander is the owner of a new laundromat opening in Taylorsville on Old Wilkesboro Road. He asked the Council to consider awarding Ms. Alexander a grant that was created to assist someone operating a coin laundry service in Taylorsville. He noted that having no laundry facility in town in the recent past greatly impacted the needs of persons of low and moderate incomes; therefore, the grants were created to assist with opening such facilities. One laundromat has been opened and those owners received this grant. The Council voted unanimously Tuesday to award this grant to Ms. Alexander as well.
There was also a transfer of funds from the Water and Sewer Contingency Fund to the Fire Department to assist in offsetting the costs of flow testing.
Mayor Holleman noted that the next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 28, at 5:30 p.m. and the proposed budget will be read for a second time. The meeting was then adjourned.