06/21/06 — Fromont residents won't see new taxes or fees

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Fromont residents won't see new taxes or fees

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 21, 2006 1:47 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont residents will pay the same property tax rate and the same fees for water and sewer and electricity in 2006-07 as they did this past fiscal year.

After a brief discussion, the town board unanimously approved a new budget Tuesday. While about 25 people attended the meeting at town hall, none spoke during a public hearing on the budget.

The property tax rate will remain 65 cents per $100 of valuation for the third straight year.

Mayor Devone Jones said the town's financial picture is "looking a lot better." Jones noted that the town has a contract for sewer improvement to prevent rainwater from infiltrating the system and being treated by the Goldsboro sewer plant. The problem has been costing the town financially, he said.

"When we get that fixed, things will look a lot better for the town of Fremont," Jones said.

Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said Goldsboro will raise its sewer charges by 15 percent on July 1. For Fremont to hold the line against rate increases, he said the town's sewer repairs must be effective.

Town employees will get a 3.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment, but merit raises were scrapped.

The new budget called for a fourth police officer, the purchase of two .40 caliber handguns and higher pay for part-time police officers. The part-time officers will be paid $11 per hour, a 60-cent raise, and former chief Ben Reid, now a part-time detective, will be paid $13.50 per hour, a 50-cent raise. The police will get two new cars from a state grant.

The Fremont Volunteer Fire Department also will get $17,942 state grant.

McDuffie said the business privilege license will be cut to a $5 maximum.

Other purchases in the budget include a zero-turn lawn mower and a ditch-side arm mower for the streets department, a hand-held meter-reading device for the electrical department and up to $7,500 in Christmas decorations.

The town administrator urged the town to plan to buy a new garbage truck.

McDuffie said $7,812 had been provided for minimum housing code enforcement.

"This is not enough to deal with the entire concern," he said, "but it is a good start."

A National Night Out program in August and a fall festival were not funded.

"This is a good budget," McDuffie said, "that will continue to improve the financial condition of the town and provide needed services while increasing the efficiencies of the town's operations."