Tax rate unchanged

Published 8:07 am Thursday, May 21, 2015

GATESVILLE – Money is tight, and the proposed 2015-16 Gates County local government budget reflects that fact.

County Manager Natalie Rountree has released her revenue vs. spending proposal, a financial spreadsheet that is required to be adopted by the county commissioners prior to the start of the new fiscal year (July 1).

The good news for Gates County property owners is that Rountree’s proposal does not reflect an increase in taxes. She has suggested the commissioners maintain the current property tax rate of 64 cents (per $100 of valuation).

Her total budget for 2015-16 is $13.86 million – of which $10.55 million is in the General Fund. The lion’s share of the budget comes from local property taxes ($5.38 million). A shade over $2 million is placed in the local budget through what Gates County receives in state sales tax.

The Gates County Public School system will receive the largest slice of the budget pie as Rountree has recommended $2.7 million in current expense funding.

Social Services will receive $1.63 million under Rountree’s proposal.

The Sheriff’s Office will receive a recommended $960,304 . She has also set aside $969,800 to cover the county’s debt service payments for 2015-16.

Other county departmental funding proposals are $385,975 for administration/finance; $336,149 for the Tax Department; $109,175 for Elections; $110,947 for the Register of Deeds; $410,494 for Buildings and Grounds; $279,988 for Emergency Management; $142,564 for Inspections; $608,487 for GITS; $133,229 for Planning/Zoning; $136,268 for Cooperative Extension; $94,019 for Soil & Water Conservation; $113,500 for the Health Department; $92,000 for the public library; $129,498 for E-911; and $237,000 for the Gates County Community Center.

“While our sales tax revenue did increase slightly, it was not enough to set-off Medicaid reductions. It’s for this reason that most departments will see reductions in their operating expenses,” Rountree told the commissioners in her budget presentation.

Rountree added that NC Cooperative Extension requested that all counties pick up a greater share of employee salaries effective with the new 2015-16 budget year.

“In order to sustain that request on a yearly basis, one full-time position was not funded,” Rountree said.

She added that funds are in her proposed budget to cover the renovation of the EIC building as well as start-up costs for the launch of property revaluation.

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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