Town leaders credit a healthy residential growth rate for allowing them to approve a spending plan that largely spares extra expenses for residents and allows officials to reduce Holly Springs’ debt.
On June 16, the Holly Springs Town Council unanimously approved a $42.9 million budget for fiscal year 2015-16, which starts in July, that maintains the current property tax rate, water and sewer rates, garbage collection fees, recycling fees, yard waste fees and stormwater fees. The budget is about $3.9 million higher than the current spending plan.
“It’s one of the best budgets I’ve seen,” Mayor Dick Sears said.
The property tax rate will remain at 43 cents per $100 valuation.
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The town will go without borrowing money for operational expenses for the second year in a row, said Town Manager Chuck Simmons. Debt services payments also will become a smaller portion of town expenses, dropping from 16.87 percent this year to 15.96 percent next year.
“Because of the robust growth the town has experienced, we’re at about 17 percent of our legal debt limit, which is really quite low,” Simmons said.
Simmons pointed to a chart showing a rise of building permits issued to developers in the years since the recession. Holly Springs has issued 298 permits through the first five months of 2015, putting it on pace to to issue more building permits than last year’s 420.
“That growth helps us meet the growing needs of a growing town without raising our tax rates,” he said.
The town will, however, raise some development fees, parks and recreation rental rates and fire inspection charges. For instance, tennis court and turf soccer field rental rates will increase.
The budget also introduces a new $50 fee for residents hoping to register their golf carts. Council members earlier this year voted to allow golf carts to drive on town streets starting July 1.
The budget includes $1.5 million in capital projects, from a $150 for a new microphone pulley system at the Cultural Center to a new breathing apparatus for the fire department worth $195,000. The budget would also create a fiber optic telecommunications fund for leasing strands of fiber.
Ten new positions will be added, including three firefighters, two park maintenance technicians and workers in other departments.
At the June 16 meeting, council members offered only praise for the spending plan.
“Job well done on the budget,” said Councilman Jimmy Cobb, who works as an accountant.
Councilman Tim Sack praised town staff for identifying top priorities among “millions and millions” of dollars worth of needs.
“You did an excellent job of keeping us on the right track,” Sack told Simmons.
Town officials initially feared that the N.C. General Assembly might pass a budget that redistributes sales tax revenues, of which Holly Springs collected $5.2 million this year.
The latest sales tax redistribution proposal wouldn’t go into effect until 2016.
What Holly Springs pays
Under the budget passed by the Holly Springs Town Council on June 16, most town residents will continue paying:
▪ A property tax rate of 43.5 cents per $100 valuation
▪ A combined water and sewer rate of $7.30 for every 1,000 gallons they use each month
▪ A garbage collection fee of $9.50 a month
▪ A recycling fee of $4.25 a month
▪ A yard waste fee of $2 a month, and
▪ A monthly stormwater fee of $3 per month.