Tax rate unchanged

Published 8:47 am Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MURFREESBORO – Citizens here can rest assured that they will not pay higher taxes for the new fiscal year.

Murfreesboro’s 2013-14 operating budget for its General Fund has been approved by a vote of the town council. That financial spreadsheet is balanced with $2.17 million worth of revenues matched against an equal amount of expenditures. The good news is that the property tax rate remains at 66 cents per $100 of valuation.

“This budget is inclusive of all financial obligations while all municipal services remain funded. Revenues are projected conservatively, and expenditures are projected realistically,” said Town Administrator Brandon Holland.

Holland highlighted several areas of the new budget, to include:

A total tax base of $125,105,794 with a projected 94 percent collection rate;

One penny on the tax rate generates $12,510 of revenue;

The modest revenue increase is based on the audit report from fiscal year 2011-2012. This projection is driven by a more realistic forecast and a conservative forecast of continued slow growth to the state’s economy. Other major sources of revenue remain generally static. Due to slight increase of Community Development efforts and additional Recreation programs, one percent of the town’s Fund Balance is used to balance the budget.

Holland added there are a few changes in General Fund expenditures from the previous fiscal year. The new budget includes a 4 percent salary increase and 1 percent Christmas bonus for all permanent full time employees.

Funding for the Albemarle Regional Library in Murfreesboro is increased by 3 percent to $84,822. The new Accounting Technician position for the Administration Department is funded and there is one vacant Police Officer position from the previous year that will remain funded to be filled. The contract for solid waste disposal was negotiated to remain the same.

The most significant increase to the General Fund expenditures is to cover the projected first year’s payment of the three-year loan to purchase four new police vehicles; this is a normal rotation of vehicles, Holland said.

One additional Capital Outlay item is proposed to purchase a transmission flushing machine for the town garage at $6,000.

Community Development efforts have been funded to provide $10,000 to the Chamber of Commerce for operational purposes and increased economic development efforts. The Murfreesboro Historic Association will receive $1,200 to assist with replacing signs. The Town will provide $5,000 to fund a Façade Grant program. These General Fund expenditures are funded from Fund Balance and will remain the most vulnerable for future reconsideration at the end of the fiscal year.

A breakdown of departmental expenditures is as follows:

Governing Body – $151,770

Administration – $236,715.68

Building and Grounds – $63,999

Police – $830,849.13

Communications – $224,993.53

Fire – $109,040.80

Town Garage – $69,832.91

Streets – $30,112

Powell Bill – $164,100

Sanitation – $249,829

Recreation – $32,400

Cemetery – $6,500

Holland said that the Enterprise Fund (Water/Sewer) – with total revenues and expenditures of $1.41 million – is proposed with minor expense changes. The sewer rate will decrease by 25 percent. Significant infrastructure improvements are set to replace water lines on Union Street to link with the upgrades that Chowan University is making to their system. There will be additional upgrades to several other waterlines around town. The 2013 Collections Capital Improvement Plan is funded to purchase a sewer camera and repair inflow and infiltration in the sewer system as needed. The Waste Water Department budget has decreased by $68,000 due to last year’s obligation of Capital Outlay items. Waste Water will have one Capital Project in 2013-2014, to replace five valves at the spray fields for a total of $10,000.

Powell Bill funding will decrease by 3 three for a total funding of $79,160 for street maintenance. E-911 Communications funding will decrease by $3,889, allocating $33,442. The decrease in E-911 funding is based on the previous year’s expenses.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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