04/23/08 — City considers 5-cent tax increase

View Archive

City considers 5-cent tax increase

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 23, 2008 2:09 PM

Goldsboro residents might see a tax increase in their future.

City officials are working on their budget for the next fiscal year, beginning in July, and the proposed budget includes a tax rate increase from 65 cents per $100 valuation to 70 cents.

City Manager Joe Huffman believes the five-cent increase is justified.

"The city has undertaken an aggressive building plan to spur revitalization, meet facility upgrade needs neglected for decades and to reconstruct facilities that were destroyed by fire in the last few years," he said. "At the same time, we are facing operating cost increases."

Gasoline and diesel prices, for one, are costing the city nearly $4,000 more a week than this time last year.

The Public Works Department has already had to ask the City Council for more money -- $191,000 -- just to keep all of the city's maintenance trucks running until July.

With gas prices closing in on $4 a gallon nearly everywhere in the country, construction costs and material costs are also going up, and with many city projects still in the early stages, costs at the conclusion of those projects are expected to be higher than first estimated.

But, Huffman said, the council is putting its money into the right things for the city's future.

"It is my opinion that council has a very results-oriented approach to municipal government. Citizens can see how resources are being invested in a very tangible way. With this proposed tax increase, I do not think folks can say, 'Where are my tax dollars going?'" he said. "It is clear that much is being accomplished when you look at Stoney Creek Park, efforts to support Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the renovation of City Hall, the construction of the Paramount Theatre, the effort to build the Community Center, the construction of the John Street Parking Lot and efforts to restore Union Station."

The city is looking to improve its foundation, Huffman added, and the tax increase now might mean less of an increase in years to come.

"I think one of the most effective strategies we can utilize to protect the tax base from future erosion is to invest. In the private sector, those companies that invest to remain competitive seem to realize the most in the way of dividends in the future. While it is difficult to operate government like a business ... I do see a similar tie between investment and outcomes for Goldsboro," he said. "If we invest now and turn back the tide of an eroding tax base, I think we can create a situation where the tax rate in the future will not be increased dramatically."

The tax increase hasn't been set in stone.

The council hasn't had an opportunity to discuss the proposed budget. Members will be meeting to review the information next week, and they will likely make changes to what is proposed.

The increase, if the council decides to move forward, would raise about $1 million in tax revenues.