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City's budget faces $230,000 setback

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on May 22, 2012 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council decided at its Monday meeting to postpone most of its budgetary discussions until its next budget work session, set for May 30 at noon, but one member of the council did reveal some concerns with the 2012-13 spending plan.

Mayor Pro Tempore Chuck Allen admitted during the work session that the Buck Swamp and Salem Church Road area known as Phase 11 would likely be deannexed by the first day of the fiscal year.

The N.C. Senate approved a bill about 10 minutes into the Council's regular meeting at 7 p.m. that aims to cancel nine annexations across the state, including the Phase 11 annexation.

House Bill 5 also makes provisions that the city cannot annex the area for 12 years. That bill, if approved by the House, would become law and effective July 1.

"I think we know the Lane Tree area is not going to be a part of the city by July 1," Allen said, pointing out that the revenues assumed in the current spending plan were inflated due to the inclusion of that area's property taxes and utility fees.

He also asked that the extra personnel hired, vehicles and other assets acquired to serve that area be taken into account when hiring and allocating funding for certain departments, in essence asking for both the decreased revenues and increased expenditures from the deannexation be driving points behind hiring and purchasing decisions.

Finance Director Kaye Scott said the deannexation would result in about a $230,000 shortfall in the city's budget, but asked that the budget be approved as is while her staff verified those calculations.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, she said she would return at the council's first meeting of the fiscal year on July 9 to ask for a budget amendment reflecting the changes.

Meanwhile, City Manager Scott Stevens said personnel moves and purchases would all be made with the likely deannexation in mind.

The Phase 11 area was annexed in 2004, but did not formally join the city until September 2008 after a four-year legal battle. The city has provided that area with services, with the exception of sewer, since then.

Allen also asked that the $30,000 appropriation for the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base air show be held until after July 1, but Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan insisted it be left in as the city was already expected to handle the event's marketing budget.

The council tweaked the budget a bit during its work session, granting the Arts Council of Wayne County the $25,000 it typically receives from the city after leaving it out of the initial proposed budget, but generally decided to hold budgetary concerns until the next work session.

Mrs. Scott hopes to have the budget approved at the council's June 4 meeting.