05/15/17 — New fee included in city budget

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New fee included in city budget

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on May 15, 2017 9:57 AM

The city of Goldsboro fiscal 2017-18 budget proposes to hold the line on property taxes but includes a new stormwater fee for properties across the city.

The property tax rate is recommended to remain at 65 cents per $100 in property valuation and no increases are proposed for water, sewer or trash service, said Kaye Scott, during a budget presentation to the Goldsboro City Council Monday.

"There's no tax increase, no fees increase," Scott said. "There's no increase in our business-registration fee (or) vehicle licensing tax.

"We will move to implement a stormwater utility fee. There is a recommendation for six new positions to be funded, health insurance increases and some pay increases and 401(k) contribution, but we'll go into that in a lot more detail as we set up the budget work sessions."

The proposal 2017-18 fiscal budget, starting July 1, of $59.3 million is a $1.3 million increase from the current fiscal 2016-17 budget of nearly $5.8 million. The increase reflects a $60,233 increase in the general fund, a $1 million stormwater fund and more than $200,000 increase in occupancy taxes.

The new stormwater fee is proposed to start on July 1, with a $4.50 per month cost for all developed property in the city. On Jan. 1, single-family residential property owners will continue to pay $4.50 per month. Other properties, including most multifamily buildings and businesses, will be billed based on the amount of impervious surface on the property. Impervious surfaces, such as parking lots, buildings and sidewalks, are areas that generate stormwater and prevent water from entering the ground.

The budget also includes the addition of city-funded health insurance benefits for the seven members of the council, at a cost of $49,000, said Scott Stevens, city manager. The city council approved adding health insurance as one of its benefits during its February retreat.

Each member of the council, except the mayor, also receives $9,000 in annual pay and another $3,000 for travel costs. The mayor, eligible to receive $11,400 in annual pay, has earmarked his pay to go toward the city's employee star award program. The mayor accepts his annual travel allowance of $4,800.

The budget is available for public review in the city manager's office and on the city's website. The council will have a budget public hearing, which allows the public to provide input on the spending plan, Monday during its regular 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

The budget, which goes into effect July 1, is recommended for adoption during the council's June 5 meeting.

The budget also includes the addition of six new employees, a 1 percent cost-of-living pay increase for the city's workforce of 456 employees, which will cost $248,456, and nearly $1.8 million in vehicle purchases.

The new positions include a senior fleet mechanic, administrative assistant, two park technicians, a sports turf assistant superintendent and a multisport complex manager. The salaries for the positions are proposed to increase city personnel costs by $216,597 during the 2017-18 fiscal year, due to one park technician and the sports turf superintendent working half of the year. The salaries the following fiscal year will increase the budget by $253,869.

New vehicles are recommended for purchase through a loan and include a front-end wheel loader for $197,000, a limb loader truck for $143,000, 12 police vehicles including eight Dodge Chargers for $187,856 and four sport utility vehicles for $113,612, a backhoe for $115,000, tandem dump truck for $170,000 and several vehicles for the future multisport complex.

The vehicles for the multisport complex include a field rake, $14,000, utility club cart, $10,600, heavy duty mower, $78,889, a crew-cab pickup truck, $28,500, one-ton pickup truck, $47,500, riding mower, $33,347 and reel mower, $57,411.

The budget will also increase by $274,000 for increased costs for city-paid health insurance, which will boost from $479 to $494 per month.

The budget does not include the use of any fund balance reserves. Significant budget drivers totaling nearly $2.4 million include increased costs of health insurance, the city's share of retirement pay, salary increases, police salary adjustments and technology, debt service and multisport complex staffing and equipment.

Also included in the budget are agency allocations for various nonprofits, other groups, agencies and the city bus system.

Proposed funding amounts include $20,000 to the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, $12,000 to Literacy Connections, $8,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County, $30,000 to the Arts Council of Wayne County, $40,00 to the Wayne Action Group for Economic Solvency, WAGES, $20,000 to the Wayne Action Teams for Community Health, WATCH, $15,000 to the Wayne County Museum and $5,000 to Wayne Uplift.

Also, $15,000 to Communities in Schools, $4,425 to Rebuilding Broken Places, $5,000 for Consumer Credit Counseling, $8,000 to the Wayne Occupational Readiness Keys for Success program at Wayne Community College, $25,000 to Waynesborough Park, $20,000 to the Wayne Initiative for School Health, WISH, $25,000 to the Wayne County Alliance, $4,320 toward a Butterball economic incentive, $250,000 toward the One N.C. Fund grant, and $279,320 to the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority.