05/03/05 — Proposed city budget to require 5-cent hike

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Proposed city budget to require 5-cent hike

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 3, 2005 1:49 PM

Goldsboro's proposed 2005-06 budget would require a five-cent increase in the city's property tax rate.

City Manager Joe Huffman presented the draft spending plan to the City Council at a work session Monday afternoon.

"The last thing a new city manager wants to bring you is a budget with a tax increase," Huffman said. "The only thing that would be worse would be a budget that's irresponsible and doesn't work."

Huffman proposed to raise the tax rate from 60-cents-per-$100 valuation to 65-cents. That would mean a $35 hike for the owner of a $70,000 home; $120 for a $120,000 home; and $200 for a $200,000 home.

City residents also pay Wayne County property taxes.

Also, sewer rates would increase 15 percent. Water rates would go up for some major users, although not most households. Some fees for city services would increase.

Huffman said that in preparing budgets for other towns over the past 15 years, that he has never proposed a tax increase. But he said he doesn't see a way to avoid one in his first budget for Goldsboro.

Beginning in 2005-06, the city is liable for about $610,000 a year in new debt payments. These are for the bonds issued for the City Hall expansion project, now under construction, and for street improvement. Those payments alone account for three cents on the tax rate, Huffman said.

The city also faces nearly $280,000 in one-time costs to equip and secure the city hall addition.

The budget includes more than $800,000 to provide street lights, fire hydrants and services in the annexation area. The city is projected to receive $516,000 in revenue next year.

The budget includes $390,000 for technology improvements. Nearly $225,000 would be spent on a voice-over-IP system, which is expected to lower the city's telephone costs.

City employees would get a 2.5-percent raise, although it would not go into effect until January 2006. They received a similar raise in February. Health insurance coverage would not change.

The budget would create six new positions. It would also reclassify eight current employees, including assistant to the city manager Tasha Logan, who would become assistant city manager.

The City Council members did not discuss the budget in depth. They will set work sessions this month to consider possible changes.