06/06/06 — Council approves new budget

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Council approves new budget

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 6, 2006 1:52 PM

It's official -- there will be no new taxes this year.

Goldsboro City Council members approved the recommended $42 million budget for the 2006-07 fiscal year Monday night.

Finance Director Richard Durham said to comply with state laws, the budget must "show an exact balance between revenues and expenditures." Goldsboro's does just that, he added.

Due to the decision to keep the tax rate the same and the increase in costs associated with the gas price hike, most of the city departments made sacrifices this year, officials said.

The city allocated nearly $500,000 for gasoline for the 2006-07 fiscal year. At a budget work session held last month, Durham said he is not sure the money will last, but council members can allocate more funds to fill city vehicles if necessary.

"If you've been to the pumps lately, you know what's happening there," he said. "We're really not sure that this is going to cover the costs, but it's the best estimate right now."

The majority of the other expenditures included in the budget were routine -- salaries, office supplies and software upgrades. Still, there were a few exceptions, Durham said.

Key expenses included in the budget cover upgrading a few staff positions, more than $300,000 in loan repayment for the golf course and beginning to pay off the debt associated with construction of the $4.7 million City Hall building.

Also included in what City Manager Joe Huffman called a "get-by" budget was close to $850,000 in costs associated with the proposed annexation of Phase XI, Study Area E, the neighborhood near Buck Swamp and Salem Church roads.

Durham also noted several changes that were requested in the Special Expense budget of the General Fund. The appropriation for the Wayne County Public Library was increase by more than $34,000, $7,500 for the Committee of 100 was eliminated and the Seymour Support Council received a $6,000 increase in funds.

Also discussed was the $15,000 requested for membership dues by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. Some chamber officials said they had "grave concerns" about the prospect of losing the money and membership of the city.

Durham said the money is back in the budget.

"The $15,000 appropriation for the Chamber of Commerce was eliminated and subsequently reinstated," he said, adding the money will still not be tagged as "membership dues" but will be provided in exchange for services.

Also included in the budget were several changes to the Occupancy Tax Fund -- money generated from a tax added to hotel and motel charges. In the past, 20 percent of the money raised through this tax was allocated to help operate the tourism development office and the remaining 80 percent went towards future construction of a convention center.

The newly approved changes will split the money between the tourism office and convention center down the middle.