The town of Garner will ask the Town Council to approve a $30.2 million budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, a 6 percent increase from last year’s budget.
However, taxes are not expected to increase significantly and the tax rate will remain at 51.75 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Property throughout Garner – as it was for all of Wake County last year – was revalued for tax purposes for the first time since before the recession. In Garner, property values as a whole saw a small increase in value, which means keeping the tax rate the same will result in slightly more revenue for the town.
The tax rate means that an average homeowner in Garner, whose home is worth $180,000, would pay $931.50 in taxes to the town. That figure doesn’t include what the property owner would pay to Wake County.
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Tax rates had increased the past two years by 2.75 cents to help pay for the bond referendum voters passed in 2013. The $35.7 million referendum is paying for a new police station, a new town hall, a recreation center downtown, new sidewalks, greenways, dog parks and improvements to parks.
The town will continue its annual street resurfacing program, designed to improve its declining streets. The program will cost $400,000 this year. Nearly $750,000 will go toward replacing town vehicles.
Health insurance costs for town employees have also increased.
Cost share drops
The town has agreed to pay its share of salary increases to employees in the Garner Volunteer Fire Department, which was 15 percent behind market value.
The Garner Fire Department is an independent organization paid for by the town and county. The cost share between the county and town has changed recently after both entities conducted their own studies.
In past years, Garner held a 54.7 percent cost share of the fire services within the Garner Fire District, while Wake County was responsible for 45.3 percent.
Now the town is responsible for 51.6 percent and Wake County for 48.4 percent.
If the fire department’s budget is fully funded, Garner would be responsible for about $2.7 million of it.
Also included in the budget proposal are 15 body cameras for police officers. The police department has applied for two grants that, if awarded, will pay for the body cameras.
The police department is also requesting four new positions in its department for beginning officers to keep up with its expected growth.
Garner currently has a little more than 27,000 people in its town limits.
The Town Council is expected to have further discussions about the budget at its next meeting on Tuesday.