05/04/10 — Goldsboro Council to begin talk on 2010-11 budget

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Goldsboro Council to begin talk on 2010-11 budget

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on May 4, 2010 1:46 PM

Goldsboro City Council members agreed, during their pre-meeting work session Monday night, to begin going over City Manager Joe Huffman's proposed 2010-2011 budget May 11 at 9 a.m.

And if the board were to approve the document as is, local residents would have to endure an increase in taxes, sewer rates and water use fees -- moves Huffman said would bring much-needed revenue to city coffers.

The manager warned the council weeks ago the budget would likely include a tax increase -- the document calls for a five-cent increase -- a recommendation he characterized as a "survival measure" during these tough economic times.

Sewer rates, should Huffman's proposal be approved, would go up 5 percent and water rates would increase by 15 percent.

Other ways the city would save under the budget include a salary freeze and the elimination of the employee Christmas party, merit pay and the ArtSmarts program.

Organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, Rebuilding Broken Places, Arts Council, WATCH, Wayne County Museum and Waynesborough Park would also receive a hit, bringing in 20 percent less in funding from the city than they did last year.

But Huffman's recommendations still include $5,000 to cover "luncheon and dinner meetings" for the council, which include meals --- Monday night, the board ate barbecue -- for council members and department heads before each council meeting and $22,800 for "board member expenses" not outlined in the document.

Huffman also made significant cuts in the capital outlay arena -- of the $2.4 million requested for items including 10 new police cars, only $357,000 worth would be funded under the proposed budget.

And the city manager also recommended eliminating funding for the Wayne County Public Library, but said Monday his "hope" is that the county government would cover the city's allocation.

But the budget was not the only issue discussed by the council Monday.

The board also denied a request by Tim Harvey to open up a "place of entertainment" on the west side of Central Heights Road, between New Hope Road and Hunter's Creek Drive, after, at their last meeting, council members heard from several residents who said the business would have a negative impact on the neighborhoods that surround the site.