06/07/11 — Mount Olive approves spending plan, with no new taxes

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Mount Olive approves spending plan, with no new taxes

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 7, 2011 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive Town Board of Commissioners approved a $4.7 million budget Monday night, contingent on state funding and the county budget.

"We don't know what the state is going to do and we do not know what the county is going to do," Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. said. "We can amend the budget at any time."

The budget does not call for any increase in the tax rate of 59 cents per $100 worth of property.

The budget can be amended downward, but not upward and the tax rate can be amended as well, McDonald said.

The budget continues the town's hiring freeze and does not include any salary increases. However, Town Manager Charles Brown said that the town hopes to revisit salaries by the end of the calendar year.

"I think we have put together a good budget," Brown said. "We have cut substantially from where we were a year ago. I think almost every department has shown reductions. We have eliminated 12 positions. I think (City Clerk) Mrs. Arlene's (Talton's) payroll numbers are down somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000 a week.

"What we have done with the savings is to set aside money for a fund balance so that we have a little cushion for a rainy day. It is very lean."

The budget includes $378,329 from the general fund and $274,325 from the water and sewer fund for the fund balance.

The budget anticipates $2.6 million in the general fund and $2.1 million in the water and sewer fund.

Current year taxes are expected to total $1.2 million, up slightly from $1.059 million in the current budget. Other major revenues include: Vehicle taxes, $120,000 down from $129,570; franchise taxes, $270,000 down from $314,000; local option sales tax, $506,000, the same as this year; and refuse collection fees, $375,000 down slightly from $375,422.

The budget was approved following a public hearing during which several people asked about the town's recreation department.

One resident, Margaret Wider, who had harsh words for the board during the public comment portion of the meeting, asked the board during the hearing if money would be available for street paving.

Brown said there was and that paving of some streets would begin by the end of the month. He said the problem is that the state is reducing how much money it allocates for such projects.

Brown said when gas prices were $2 per gallon, the town was receiving more paving money than it is now that gas is more than $4 per gallon.