06/19/07 — Goldsboro City Council - No tax hike

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Goldsboro City Council - No tax hike

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 19, 2007 1:45 PM

Goldsboro City Council members made it official Monday: There will be no new taxes in 2007-08.

The council approved its recommended $46.5 million fiscal year budget on the advice of Finance Director Richard Durham and City Manager Joe Huffman after more than a month of fine-tuning.

The plan includes several items worth noting, Durham said, including a 2.5 percent salary increase for city employees effective January 2008.

"It was a difficult budget to put together," he said. "But I think it's pretty complete. I think we did a good job with getting a budget adopted that did not include a tax increase."

But city residents can still expect to spend a few more dollars next year, compliments of the council.

Water rates will increase 10 percent, an impact of a few dollars a month per household, Durham said.

Huffman said the move will bring more than $400,000 in additional funds to city coffers.

The approved budget does not, however, include everything.

Costs associated with the $5 million reconstruction of the Paramount Theater were left out, a "logical" decision, Durham said.

"We have included some costs in the budget for the operation aspects in anticipation of the Paramount opening up in February or March," he said. "The debt services won't factor in until next year."

Funding for power, water and salaries for the three who will staff the theater were included.

No specific amounts were given for the power and water portions of the Paramount expenses, which were included in the line items for those utilities.

But the 2007-08 budget is about more than high-dollar projects, taxes and salaries.

Non-profit organizations will see allocations also.

In fact, after nearly missing out on funding and making a "final plea" at a public hearing on budget issues, officials from Wayne Action Teams for Community Health were informed that they were getting the $20,000 the group requested.

WATCH leaders said the decision shows council members care about members of the community in need, that they would now be ensuring health care would reach an estimated one-third of the uninsured population in the county.

And the $20,000 would mean even more than the 5 percent it will represent in the organization's $350,000 budget. The decision could enhance the chances of receiving grant money -- that local funding typically does.

Durham said he was proud of the work completed by staff and council members to ensure the budget passed with few complications.

"I think this budget will work well for Goldsboro," he said.