05/09/11 — No tax hike on city spending plan

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No tax hike on city spending plan

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on May 9, 2011 1:46 PM

The first draft of the city's budget, as distributed to the Goldsboro City Council at its last meeting, doesn't include any tax increases or increases in utility rates.

The budget, which the council has said won't be adopted until its June 20 meeting, does not take into account the revaluation of property that is due this year. Financial Director Kaye Scott said that revaluations inside the city are performed by the county and that the numbers should be available sometime this week.

With the budget battle continuing in Raleigh, there's even more uncertainty in what the city's final budget will look like, which is why the council has elected to hold off on finalizing the budget until the last meeting of the fiscal year. Based on economic forecasts, the budget draft assumes a slight increase in revenue, totaling about $9.5 million.

"If anything happens with state funding, we can regroup and see what we can do," Mrs. Scott said.

The budget recommends no new positions be created in the city government and that the 14 positions that were frozen during the 2010-11 budget remain so, saving the city $571,193.

The budget restricts any salary adjustments, but does recommend a retirement-matching increase of 0.52 percent for general employees and a 0.63 percent increase for law enforcement. Health insurance premiums will also increase by 5 percent.

One of the more notable budget changes, however, comes in gasoline. After falling 11 weeks short with its gasoline funds this year, the Finance Department suggests increasing its allocation for gasoline by 33 percent and increasing diesel fuel funds by 37 percent.

When the figures come back from the county, Mrs. Scott said the department will calculate the budget to, again, be revenue neutral as required by state law.

"The council will, at that point decide what to do," she said. "It will be up to the council to decide if they want it to stay revenue neutral."

Mrs. Scott said she wants to get the budgets into the hands of the council members as soon as possible to allow them to make informed decisions and that the delay in getting the revaluation numbers was necessary.

"They're doing their due diligence. You don't want to get it and then them have to get it back," she said.

Mrs. Scott anticipates getting the new values sometime next week and having an updated budget proposal ready before the May 16 public hearing.

The council will hold its first budget work session Tuesday at 11 a.m.