Ahoskie property tax rate unchanged

Published 4:01 pm Friday, May 26, 2023

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AHOSKIE – Leigh Etheridge has presented her first-ever budget plan for the Town of Ahoskie, and it doesn’t include a tax increase.

Etheridge, who was hired in January as the Ahoskie Town Manager, unveiled the town’s proposed operating budget for FY 2023-24 during a special called meeting here this week. The General Fund budget is proposed at $8,040,193.

Even though her proposal is approximately $1.4 million higher than the current year budget of $6.6 million, the property tax rate remains at 81 cents per $100 of value.

As presented at a workshop back on March 28, Etheridge proposed using Ahoskie’s $1.5 million share of ARP funding (aka the federal government’s COVID-19 Stimulus Package approved in 2021) to pay the annual salaries of the town’s first responders (police and fire departments). In turn, the town can apply that money to its annual debt service, which results in yearly savings of approximately $122,129 over the life of those existing loans.

The proposed FY 2023-24 General Fund budget includes increasing the town’s fund balance by $142,000; providing a five percent cost of living adjustment for all employees (at a total cost of $224,000); maintaining $15,000 in Crime Prevention Funding; purchasing police and fire vehicles (total cost of $306,000); purchasing an excavator for the town’s debris site ($101,502); hiring a Customer Service Specialist in the Inspections department ($58,558); and hiring a Recreation Director ($83,233).

Ahoskie has been without a full-time Recreation Director since July 2017.

Garbage rates are proposed to increase by $3 for residential services (making the new rate $26) and an increase by $4 for commercial service (making the new rate $36). Etheridge said these rate hikes are necessary due to an increase in contract services with Green For Life Environmental (GFL).

She noted that all other fees, including water and sewer, are recommended to stay the same.

The main sources of revenue for the budget are property taxes ($2.39 million), local option sales tax ($1.59 million), garbage collection fees ($700,629), and motor vehicle taxes ($294,000).

A public hearing for the proposed budget is scheduled for the Ahoskie Town Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting (6 p.m. on June 13). The Council is required to approve the budget prior to the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

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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