Windsor lowers tax rate

Published 8:57 am Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WINDSOR – It was a difference more in semantics than actual cost.

Still, the Windsor Board of Commissioners decided at the last moment to follow the advice of Mayor Jim Hoggard and lower the town’s tax rate.

Mayor Pro-Tempore Bob Brown asked to be recognized when the town board began discussion of the FY 2012-13 budget at their June 14 meeting.

“During our work session we had a long discussion on the tax rate in Windsor,” Brown said. “The majority decided to leave the tax rate at 15 cents per $100 valuation.”

He said that decision was made despite the fact that this is a revaluation year and property values were increased approximately 11 percent across the county.

“Our mayor was determined to drop the tax rate to 14.31 cents which would eliminate the increase and we decided not to do that,” Brown added.  “The mayor does his homework and after talking with him more, I have reconsidered.

“With that, I’m going to make a motion to set the tax rate at the revenue neutral rate of 14.31 cents,” he added.

Commissioner Joe Alexander offered a second to the motion and the board voted unanimously to make the change.

Following the meeting, Windsor Town Administrator Allen Castelloe said the change was roughly $8,000 in the new budget.

Brown said he believed setting the tax rate at the revenue neutral point would allow taxpayers in Windsor to continue to pay what they have been.

“We would have been increasing taxes, even though we didn’t increase the tax rate,” Brown said.

Overall, the town anticipates $180,000 in ad valorem taxes as part of a total general fund budget of slightly more than $2 million. Other sources of revenue include sales tax ($480,000) and refuse collection ($250,000). The town will also transfer $608,400 from other funds for costs to the town.

While the tax rate is revenue neutral, there will be slight increases in water, electric and garbage collection rates. Sewer rates will remain unchanged.

The town will also continue to operate with 31 fulltime employees.

The largest expenditure in the town’s budget is the police department which will cost $720,900 and includes salaries, equipment, drug agency and other required expenditures.

The town’s street services will receive $331,400 in the new budget. The fire department will receive $180,900 the bulk of which will be used to make a payment on a fire truck.

The sanitation department’s budget will be $250,200 and recreation will receive $180,600.

Overall, Windsor expects a total budget of $9,633,690 in fiscal year 2012-13. In addition to the $2 million in general fund budgets, the town expects nearly $5 million in the electric fund, slightly more than $1.5 million in project funds, $640,000 in the sewer fund and $350,000 in the water fund.

The budget, as required by law, is balanced.

Following the discussion on the budget and the decision to set the tax rate, Alexander made a motion to adopt the budget with Commissioner Lawrence Carter Jr. offering a second. That motion also passed without objection.