dollars

HUNTERSVILLE – Planned capital projects – primarily multiple road improvements expected to use more than $6 million in town reserve funds – understandably garnered the most attention at Town Manager Anthony Roberts’ May 6 presentation of his proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

But the $78.9 million plan, which includes a 21.5 percent reduction in the property tax rate to a post-revaluation “revenue neutral” rate of 24 cents per $100 valuation, also includes notable financial adjustments in other categories.

To add to the “revenue” side of the town’s budget equation – and better align the town budget with receipts – Roberts is tapping an additional $500,000 in county-distributed sales tax money. He also advised commissioners that, due to the lower local tax rate and uncertainty about the rates other Mecklenburg County towns will adopt, the town’s share of future sales tax revenue could drop

The budget proposal does not change the $84-a-year solid waste fee charged to residential customers – the fee covers about 42 percent of the town’s cost for contracted waste and recycling services – and keeps the town’s vehicle and stormwater fees unchanged.

Positive financial factors include expectations that the town-owned Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics Center, operated by Swim Club Management Group, will be not require support from the town’s general fund or travel and tourism fund. Roberts also said higher interest rates should allow the town to earn an additional $400,000 on investments.

New expenditures

The $400,000 is roughly equal to the anticipated increase in spending for the Huntersville Fire Department. The town contracts with the HFD for fire and emergency response services, and Roberts has proposed funding a pay increase for fire personnel and the first payment – around $106,000 – on a new fire truck.

The budget also earmarks $110,000 for a consultant-supported update to the town’s Comprehensive Plan and sets aside money for a 3.5-percent merit-based pay increase for full-time town employees.

The town board will hold a budget public hearing during its May 20 meeting and a budget workshop later in May. A budget decision is expected at the board’s June 3 meeting.

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