Carthage reviews proposed budget

The Town of Carthage reviewed the FY 2021-2022 proposed budget on May 17 at a special meeting preceding the regular board meeting and learned the town does not have a balanced budget. The general fund is what is causing the problems, according to Town Manager Tom Robinson.

The general fund pays for city services, including emergency services.

Reasons for the imbalance include a less than average property tax increase each year. The average increase for most towns is 3-4% each year. Carthage had an increase of .05%.

The figures in the general fund’s revenue proposed increases, as seen in the list below, are in dollar amounts. The $7,008 is .58% (half of 1 percent)  more than what was budgeted for FY 2020-21 property tax revenue.

The Town of Carthage reviewed FY 2021/22 proposed budget increases on May 17 at its board meeting.

Each of the following changes are from comparisons in the 2018-2019 budget.

Carthage requested a 64.97% increase at $32,000 for their information technologies contract budget.

The professional service’s budget requested a 41.67% increase at $85,000 due to the need for legal advice.

The fire department’s proposed budget increase request was 44.93% more, due to more personnel and increases in pay rates and contributions.

A 45.77% planning and zoning proposed budget increase was to cover salaries.

The police department is planning on adding staff and increasing pay rates and requested an additional $65,738, with an increase of 11.83%.

A new fire captain, public works personnel, and planning and zoning personnel, were recommended.

The need for more staff revealed a need for a new administration building in 2025-2026 at approximately $3.8 million.

The public buildings and grounds area includes funding for the maintenance and repair of town buildings, grounds and cleaning services for town hall, the McDonald building and community building. The proposed budget request for 2021-2022 includes creating a part-time janitorial position at $11,856.

A study on future water needs was requested, and system development funds are likely to be available, according to the finance officers. Population and tax increases are expected to increase water revenue. Sewer needs are also expected to increase.

The town expects to receive $750,000 in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and plans to use them for water and sewer infrastructure. The water and sewer fund is currently in balance.

During the board meeting, the board voted on bills and held a public hearing.

The town voted to adopt the Joint Resolution of Intent in Opposition to Senate Bill 349, House Bill 401 and House Bill 496 restricting local government control in land use and planning and zoning decisions. Robinson said the bills open residential areas where duplexes can be built and gut local zoning ordinances.

During the public hearing, the R. Dustin Smith annexation request was adopted allowing a 5.38-acre parcel of land at 512 Summit Street being annexed into the town limits.

Amendments to the unified development ordinance were not complete, and the hearing will be continued at the June 21 board meeting. The Little River and Carriage Hills hearings will also be continued at the June 21 board meeting.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie M. Sellers.

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