05/18/06 — Mount Olive likely to keep same tax rate

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Mount Olive likely to keep same tax rate

By Turner Walston
Published in News on May 18, 2006 1:51 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive residents won't likely see an increase in their property tax rate in 2006-07.

Assistant Town Manager Charles Brown said the proposed budget will look a lot like last year's, which came in at $4.3 million.

"We're one of the few towns that have gone as long as we have without doing that," he said concerning the steady tax rate. "Somewhere down the road that will probably need to be addressed, but we're not doing it this year."

The current tax rate is 59 cents per $100 worth of property.

Brown said the proposed budget includes a small cost-of-living raise for town employees.

"We try to be good stewards for the people of Mount Olive, and yet at the same time, get and keep the best caliber employees for the town of Mount Olive," Brown said.

The budget also includes money for land-use planning, Brown said.

"To make sure as we grow, we grow in the proper way."

Brown said writing a budget is a balancing act. He and department heads have been working on trimming department expenditures to ensure they do not exceed the town's anticipated revenue.

"You have to turn over every rock that you can think of to try to keep your expenditures within what you project your revenues to be," he said.

"The budget's simply a plan," Brown said. "It's a projection. The revenues are projected. The expenditures are projected."

The budget allocates about $1.58 million for water and sewer and $2.63 million for the general fund.

Separate from the town's general budget, the water and sewer budget is now self-sustaining, Brown said.

Seaside Utilities of Myrtle Beach, S.C. won a $10 million contract to build the town's new wastewater treatment plant next year.

Any changes resulting from the town's new wastewater treatment plant have already been implemented, Brown said.

He said the only additional fees residents will see would be a fuel surcharge added by Waste Industries.

"That will make small difference in their (customers') bill," he said. "But it's minimal, like 90 cents."

The budget, which, by law, must take effect July 1, would need to be approved by the town board prior to that date.

A public hearing to receive resident's comments on the proposed budget will be held during the board's June 5 meeting, Brown said. Copies of the town's budget will be made available at that time, he added.