The Town Council on Monday, received a proposed fiscal year 2016-17 budget of nearly $17 million in a presentation by Finance Officer Kim Kenney. A public hearing on the budget is set for the council’s next meeting on Wednesday, June 15.
The town’s property tax rate would remain at 43 cents per $100 valuation under the new budget. The revenue neutral rate after this year’s Wake County revaluation is 42.85 cents.
Total proposed expenditures of $16,795,254 matches expected revenues. In part, that’s because the town proposes to use $330,000 from its savings account to make the revenues equal to expenses.
The budget proposes seven new full-time positions – three firefighters, two police traffic officers, an additional school resource officer and an additional maintenance worker in the Public Works Department – and one part-time position, a code enforcement official in the Development Services Department.
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Town leaders expect grants to fully fund salary and benefits for the firefighter positions for two years.
Also, the traffic officer positions are contingent upon grant funding of 85 percent of salary and benefits, according to a letter from Town Manager Seth Lawless to the Town Council. The town would also be responsible for providing a portion of the cost of the officers’ vehicles.
The new firefighter positions would allow the Fire Department to send out four firefighters to structure fire calls rather than three.
During the council’s finance committee meeting on June 15 before the budget was presented to the entire council, the committee co-chairmen, council member Pete Mangum and Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Chalk, agreed that the town should fund the new firefighter positions even if the state grants do not come through.
“We need to go with four on a shift,” Chalk said.
Kenney said if the town does not get the grants and decides to go ahead and fund the new positions, the Town Council would have to approve a new source of funds for those salaries in the budget.
The new positions would increase the town’s full-time staff to 80.
Salaries, including $85,191 budgeted for 2 percent in merit raises for qualifying employees, account for $4.5 million of the expenses for the year. No cost of living adjustment is recommended.
The spending plan includes $435,000 to be transferred from the town’s capital reserve fund to the general capital project fund for improvements at Knightdale Station Park including a permanent stage, a temporary stage and a water-misting feature. In addition, more than $1 million is budgeted under capital project funds for the next phase of the park’s development.
New for the upcoming fiscal year is the designation of a half-cent of the existing tax rate to be used for maintenance of parks and greenways.
The $2 per-home, per-month storm water water fee remains the same. An increase of 5 percent in water and sewer usage fees will put the town on track to pay off merger costs to the city of Raleigh in fiscal year 2017-18, according to the town manager’s letter.
The Town Council is expected to adopt the budget after the public hearing at its June 15 meeting, in time for it to go into effect on July 1.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826