A first draft of the town of Hillsborough’s financial plan for the next three fiscal years calls for no change in property tax or water and sewer rates.
For the fifth year, the town’s draft budget workbook and three-year financial plan was presented to the Hillsborough Town Board in February to allow more time for discussion and handling of unexpected issues.
The draft $23.1 million budget includes continuing to lower the monthly minimum water usage for which Hillsborough charges, saving low-volume users money. It also includes implementing a stormwater utility and fee as well as creating a parks and public lands manager position.
The proposed Stormwater Utility Fund would be supported by fees from all residential and non-residential properties within town limits that have impervious surfaces, such as parking lots and rooftops made of materials that water does not penetrate. The fees outlined in the draft budget document are expected to be revised based on further analysis.
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The proposed utility would help pay for in-town stormwater and drainage system maintenance as well as about $1.1 million in improvements needed to comply with new state regulations over the next five to seven years to protect and restore the water quality of Falls Lake. Hillsborough is within a watershed that drains into the lake, which is on the EPA’s list of impaired waters. Hillsborough Stormwater Manager Terry Hackett expects to provide an update on the current proposal at the Board of Commissioners meeting on March 14.
The town’s draft financial plan also proposes lowering by 100 gallons the monthly minimum usage for which Hillsborough charges water and sewer customers. This would be the final step in a four-year plan, started in FY14, to reduce the minimum usage to 2,500 gallons. The reduction would benefit more than 1,500 customer accounts, about 28 percent of the accounts.
In-town households using 2,500 gallons or less would save $2.01 a month compared to this fiscal year and $121.20 annually compared to fiscal 2013 when the minimum usage was 3,000 gallons.
Out-of-town households would save $3.93 a month and $236.34 annually.
An updated budget and plan will be presented to the Town Board in mid-May, with a public hearing scheduled for May 23.
Read Town Manager Eric Peterson’s budget message at bit.ly/1pprYGA