DAVIDSON – Three workshops and review sessions, including a public hearing on May 8, are scheduled before Davidson town commissioners vote on a municipal budget package for the next fiscal year proposed by Town Finance Director Piet Swart and Town Manager Jamie Justice.
The first draft of the 2018-19 budget, which keeps the current municipal property tax rate at 35 cents per $100 valuation, was presented to the town board at its April 24 meeting. The $11,859,684 budget is nearly $800,000 higher than the current fiscal year’s total, with Swart’s expectations of about $300,000 more in property taxes, $160,000 more in sales taxes and about $70,000 more in investment interest earnings accounting for most of the revenue increase.
On the expenditure side of the balanced budget proposal, expected spending increases for police and fire operations – about $300,000 more in each department – are the most substantial additions.
Personnel costs represent nearly 49 percent ($5.7 million) of the general fund expenditures in Swart’s budget proposal. Basic operating expenses account
for nearly 25 percent of the budget. Planned capital expenditures – including $300,000 for street resurfacing projects in addition to the standard Powell Bill-funded road improvements and $154,000 to update the police department vehicle fleet – account for about 5 percent of the budget.
Debt service payments linked to the financing of the town’s second fire station and the acquisition of new police and fire communications equipment will account for about 5.8 percent of anticipated expenditures.
The budget also includes $1 million for the town’s annual interlocal agreement contribution to support the Continuum cable and internet company and sets aside $400,000 to finance future capital projects. The Continuum/Capital Projects financing represents 11.8 percent of the proposed annual budget.
Commissioners scheduled a May 1 workshop to begin the category-by-category analysis of the budget package. The budget will also be a discussion topic at the
board’s May 8 and May 22 meetings. All budget documents are available for public review at www.townofdavidson.org/budget.
On May 8, a public hearing on the budget will be held during the board’s 6 p.m. session. That meeting will be held at Davidson United Methodist Church, 233 S. Main St., because town hall will be serving as a polling place that day.
In addition, public comment on the budget package can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and residents are also invited to participate in a survey about the budget through the town’s Open Town Hall portal, www.townofdavidson.org/OpenTownHall.
The town board is scheduled to hold a vote on the budget at its June 12 meeting.
Comments, Core Values
Also at the April 24 meeting, commissioners approved the adoption of a public comment policy designed to promote civil exchanges of ideas and opinions at town meetings but again delayed a decision on rewording one of the town’s Core Values.
The public comment policy was suggested by Mayor Rusty Knox and provides basic behavior guidelines for those who speak at board meetings. During conversations about the policy – at the most recent meeting and during previous board sessions – commissioners said the intent is not to limit comments or criticisms but to encourage speakers to maintain a civil tone when expressing their views.
Adjustments to the wording of Davidson’s Core Value No. 5 has been discussed since December. The latest draft by Public Information Officer Cristina Shaul was shared with residents last month, and the board received abundant feedback – both positive and negative – about the suggested changes.
In response to the compiled responses, commissioners Autumn Rierson Michael and Jane Campbell met with Shaul and a re-polished version was presented for review at the board’s work session on May 1. It may be presented for final consideration later this month.