Town Manager Bobby Miller presented a recommended budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 providing the financial plan, and representing the delivery of services to the citizens of the Town of Walnut Cove.
The proposed budget contains no tax increase, maintaining the rate of $.40 per $100, but offers funding for a number of improvements.
According to Miller, North Carolina sales tax collections remain healthy and provides for another source of income.
Walnut Cove’s general fund expenses are estimated to be $29,386 less than last year’s 2016-17 budget. The general fund revenues for fiscal year 2017-18 are estimated to be $843,978.
The budget does include a 1.5 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) raise for all full and part-time employees, except the town manager and would go into effect Jan. 7, 2018.
“As in years past, health insurance costs have increased. We have been told by our health insurance broker that the increase this year could be five percent. We’re fortunate that this year’s increase was not as severe as first thought,” Miller said.
The law enforcement contract with Stokes County increased one percent per terms of the original agreement.
Miller explained the long range goal to improve Fowler Park is outlined. Funding is in place for sidewalk construction and lighting for the area in front of the park to grade, seed and develop between the Boy Scout building and library.
The garbage and recycling service contract was rebid with Foothills Waste Solutions becoming Walnut Cove’s provider on July 1, 2017.
“Because of the new contract the garbage collection fee will be reduced in 2017-18 from $25 to $23 bi-monthly,” Miller said.
Paving priorities and resurfacing a number of streets is cited in the budget after the repair of the town-owned bridge on Depot Street was resolved in 2016-17.
Water and sewer fund revenues are estimated to be $846,165 and funding is provided for the drilling of a new municipal well.
“The water and sewer rates remain the same and we were able to absorb the first payment due for the sewer lift station project without an increase,” Miller said.
The revenue-neutral property tax rate is determined to be $0.3605 per $100 valuation. The tax rate is necessary to generate the same amount of ad valorem revenue as last fiscal year with the county property re-valuation.
Miller said the proposed budget is balanced while taking a conservative approach to revenues.
“As always the town will continue to look for ways to maximize revenues and cut costs to maintain the high level of service the taxpayers deserve. I welcome the opportunity to speak to each of you over any concern,” he said.
A public hearing will be held Tuesday, June 13 at the Walnut Cove Colored School located at 308 Brook Street at 7 p.m. Adoption of the budget ordinance may be considered at any time after the public hearing is held, but must be done prior to June 30.
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.