By Randy Arrington
STANLEY, May 20 — With no major changes and no proposed hikes to tax rates or utility fees, there were no speakers at last week’s May 12 public hearing regarding the town’s proposed $2.3 million budget for fiscal year 2022 (FY22).
While the proposed spending plan represents an overall 3.3-percent increase ($72,816) from the current fiscal year, most departments show a modest gain in expenditures, while two — administrative and recreation — show modest declines. The biggest difference from the current fiscal year is an increase of $67,240 (or 16.7 percent) in the Public Safety budget — from $401,973 in FY21, to $469,213 in FY22. The majority of the increase will cover retirement benefits for police officers.
While no tax rates or fees were increased in the proposed FY22 budget, the town does anticipate an increase in revenue based on higher property values following reassessment. While all three main revenue streams are projected to grow slightly in the next fiscal year — tax revenue, non-tax revenue and utility service fees — tax revenue is projected to climb 9.4 percent ($58,938) based in part on reassessed property values. The newly assessed values take affect on Jan. 1, 2022.
Town manager Terry Pettit presented the council in April with a list of 26 suggested projects among 12 funding areas that could be paid for through nearly $1.6 million in anticipated funding from the American Rescue Plan of 2021. These funds are anticipated over two years and will go first toward additional expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (especially PPE supplies), with the second year focusing more in infrastructure improvements. The town plans to address its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) — separate from the operating budget — “around the first of the year,” when they can potentially begin to use ARP funds for qualifying expenditures.
The town gets about 40 percent of its revenue (projected at $927,700 in FY 22) from fees for utility services (water and sewer), which also account for about 40 percent of the town’s expenditures. Taxes on personal and real property make up about 13 percent of the town’s revenue (or just over $300,000).
The following tax rates will remain in place for the upcoming fiscal year:
• $0.75 per $100 of assessed value on personal property (vehicles);
• $0.25 per $100 of assessed value on real estate;
• $0.20 per pack of cigarettes;
• $20 per vehicle fee for motor vehicles.
All water and sewer connection fees, facility fees and rates will remain the same as current levels based on usage. The food and beverage tax (5 percent), as well as the lodging tax (4 percent), are based on county ordinance and will remain the same.
The Stanley Council is expected to take a final vote approving the FY22 budget and tax rates at its June 9 meeting.
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