No tax hike in Ahoskie
Published 5:51 pm Sunday, June 14, 2015
By CAMERON JERNIGAN
AHOSKIE – There is good news for Ahoskie residents: The tax rate will stay the same at 76 cents per $100.
On June 9, the Ahoskie Town Council, in a 5-0 vote, approved the town budget for fiscal year 2015-2016, which was presented by Town Manager Tony Hammond.
The $14,204,097 budget boasts of $2,273,814 in tax revenue, which may increase after the Hertford County budget is finalized. The preliminary budget amount, conceived between late April and early May, was $14,524,205.
This year’s budget is a $688,235 increase from the 2014-15 budget.
After discussing it with the auditor, $142,237 was appropriated from the Fund Balance due to other revenue expected to come in and loss of Privilege Licenses this year. He also gave approval to appropriate up to $250,000, which still leave a significant amount in the Fund Balance.
As the tax rate will not change, the same goes for both the water and sewer rates. However, there will be a $1 increase on trash pickup for city limit residents due to the town’s contract rate increasing.
There will possibly be a ¼ cent sales tax added, but it is not definite at this time, and will generate additional revenue.
While there will be not be a merit increase, there will be a 2% cost of living increase for town employees.
$98,000 will be saved after town cleaning contracts are cancelled on July 1. From then on, Town Hall, the Library, the Police Department and Fire Station staff will clean their own buildings.
Two police vehicles will be purchased if approved by Governor Pat McCrory’s Safety Grant. If not approved, the vehicles will not be purchased. There will also be a public restroom built at the end of Main Street, near a town park.
A budget amendment will be made at a later date to add $18,000 in funding for basketball courts, proposed by Councilman Stackhouse.
“This whole thing of having something to do…in our community, we don’t play softball or baseball, or disk. I tried my hand with a Frisbee. I don’t know, brothers just not made for that stuff. We play basketball,” Stackhouse said chuckling. “Thank you Council for hearing my humble cry.”
There are currently no lost or frozen department positions; however, there are several that have not been filled yet. The council also stopped the unionization of the Prison Labor Force.
After the presentation was over, Hammond thanked everyone for their hard work, saying, “I would like to thank all the department heads, the town staff, the clerks and finance officer – and human resources for all the work that they did putting this budget together.”
The motion to approve the budget was made by Councilwoman Myers and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Blackburn.
The final budget amendment will be held at the next Council meeting at 10 A.M. on June 29.