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No tax increase in proposed Carrboro budget

By Taylor Sisk
Staff Writer

Carrboro Town Manager David Andrews submitted his proposed fiscal year 2012-13 budget at the board of aldermen’s Tuesday night meeting, calling for no property tax-rate increase and a 3 percent raise for town employees.

The total recommended general fund operating budget is $19.44 million, a 5.2 percent increase from last year.

Property and sales tax revenues through the third quarter of the current fiscal year are up 3 percent and 7 percent, respectively, above last year, which to a large extent accounts for the ability to increase the budget without increasing taxes.

Collections from fees and permits are also up (124 percent) over last year, which, according to Andrews’ report submitted to the board, “appears to be related to approved private developments beginning or nearing the construction phase.”

If approved, an across-the-board 3 percent raise for all town employees will cost the town $255,000. Benefits will remain at current levels. Total full-time equivalent positions for the coming fiscal year will be reduced from 158.5 to 155.5. This includes the unfreezing of a planning and zoning specialist and adding a full-time information-technology position.

In addition to the general fund, $5.25 million is proposed for capital improvements, of which $4.54 million would be for sidewalks and greenways, and $521,506 for special revenue funds, which includes the affordable-housing, grant and revolving-loan funds.

“The planning department is going to have a heavy load in ’12-’13,” Andrews told the board. “They’re going to continue the comprehensive land-use ordinance update; they’ll be working on environmental-sustainability and energy-efficiency initiatives, as well as water-quality initiatives.”

In his presentation to the board, Andrews noted a 17.7 percent increase in funding for human services, which would include $26,000 for a day laborer assistance program.

“I’m very pleasantly surprised that it has worked out as well as it did, and that you bumped up human services,” board member Randee Haven-O’Donnell told Andrews of the proposed budget.
“I’m happy to see that town employees will be getting at least a small raise,” board member Jacquie Gist added. “As a state employee, I envy you.”

“I was so impressed when David first told me about this budget two weeks ago,” board member Dan Coleman said. “It exceeded all my expectations for the kinds of improvements we might be able to do this year, and without any kind of tax increase.”
A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held May 15. Budget adoption is scheduled for June 19.

In other business, George Seiz, director of Carrboro Public Works, reported that paving along North Greensboro Street is progressing well and, weather permitting, could be completed as early as the first of next week.

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