06/06/17 — City budget approved

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City budget approved

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on June 6, 2017 7:00 AM

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Mayor Chuck Allen raises his hand to vote to approve the budget during the city council meeting Monday night. Mayor pro tem Bevan Foster, right, and Councilman Antonio Williams voted against approving the budget.

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City Councilman Antonio Williams thanks everyone in the community for the support for the families affected by the recent murders in the city during Monday night's meeting.

The Goldsboro City Council voted 5-2 in favor of its fiscal 2017-18 budget that includes a council pay increase and new stormwater fee but holds the line on the property taxes.

No one on the council spoke about the $59.3 million budget during the Monday council meeting.

Mayor Chuck Allen and Councilmen Bill Broadaway, Mark Stevens, David Ham and Gene Aycock voted in favor of the budget.

Mayor Pro Tem Bevan Foster and Councilman Antonio Williams voted in opposition. Foster and Williams did not offer a reason for their vote, which follows after several budget work session meetings.

"No reason," Foster said after the meeting. "I just choose to keep that to myself."

The budget, which goes into effect on July 1, provides each council member with an additional $489 per month to cover the cost of health insurance or to use for any other purpose.

Before the council vote, Ed Cianfarra, a former city employee, criticized the board for seeking the pay increase while offering the city's workforce a 1 percent cost-of-living raise.

"I know you guys know that the backs of the city employees is what this city has been built upon," Cianfarra said.

"Gentlemen, I'm disappointed in all of you. You should be looking out for everybody. Treating everybody the same. Give them the same raise you got or take 1 percent."

The budget is $1.3 million higher than the current budget and reflects the addition of a new stormwater management fund of $1 million.

Starting July 1, all property owners in the city will be charged a $4.50 per month stormwater fee, which will provide the city's Public Works Department with additional revenue to address failing stormwater systems, help reduce flooding and address other stormwater problems.

A citywide map of the stormwater system will be created as one of the first projects for the department.

Currently, no stormwater map for the city network exists.

The fee will continue at $4.50 per month for single-family residential property owners in January, but higher fees are planned for all other developed properties, based on the amount of impervious surface on each property.

The budget keeps the city property tax rate at 65 cents per $100 in property valuation and maintains the same fees for water, sewer and garbage service.

The city council's pay increase adds $41,076 to the budget, and the 1 percent raise for the city's workforce of 456 employees will cost $248,456. Six new positions will be added during the coming year, and nearly $1.8 million in vehicle purchases are planned.

The budget also puts into effect a 10 percent increase for membership fees at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course.

During Monday night's meeting, the council:

* Approved an updated social media policy that defines employee conduct on city social media sites and personal sites.

* Approved the addition of a stormwater utility to the city's code of ordinances.

* Accepted a Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan of $6.27 million for phase four of the sewer collection rehabilitation project.

* Decided to seek a Federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan for water system improvements, estimated to cost $1.8 million.

* Approved an agreement to reimburse Wayne County $425,000 for the construction of 50,000 to 60,000 square-foot shell building, estimated to cost $1.7 million, for location in ParkEast business and industrial park along Gateway Drive.

The agreement includes the city's commitment to not annex the property until seven years after the building has a tenant.

* Approved an agreement with Wayne County and the Wayne County Development Alliance to develop a future 100-acre industrial park, with the city providing water and sewer lines to the property. The city also agrees not to annex the property.