Property tax increase being considered in Oxford

May. 27, 2014 @ 06:36 PM

OXFORD — The proposed 2014-2015 budget presented by Oxford City Manager Randy Hemann to commissioners on Tuesday would be balanced by a 2-cent increase in the property tax rate and the use of $207,860 from the general fund balance.

Hemann pointed out in his presentation to the commissioners that the moves were made to compensate for reduced intergovernmental revenue and increased costs for health insurance and unemployment insurance, while maintaining the current level of service to residents.

“A 2-cent tax increase to the owner of a $100,000 house equates to a $20 annual increase or $1.66 per month,” he said.

The current rate is 62 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

“We had hoped to go forward without a tax increase, but there are some needs that can’t be delayed,” said Jackie Sergent, the Oxford mayor.

The proposed general fund expenses total $8,522,266. Ad valorem taxes would provide $3,388,536 of the general fund revenue.

Proposed capital expenditures include new financial software, a knuckle boom truck and a variety of equipment totaling $533,500, which will be financed over a period of five years.

The proposed budget includes a 7 percent increase in the water rate, necessitated by a 4 percent increase in the cost of water provided to Oxford by the Kerr Lake Regional Water system; increased investment in infrastructure to allow for economic growth; and the construction of a new 500,000 gallon water tank.

“Without a rate increase, we couldn’t cover the cost of water to us,” Sergent said.

“The new water tank is required by state regulations if we desire to add additional customers to the system that is necessary for the growth and prosperity of our community,” Hemann said.

Sergent pointed out that a resident’s “water” bill also includes storm water disposal, sewer service and trash pickup.

Hemann pointed to economy measures the city has taken in the past. In the area of personnel, the city had cut six full-time positions and two part-time positions over the past five years to balance the budget, he said. The 2014-2015 budget would add three positions, an administrative assistant, a mechanic and a public works director.

The combined recommended budget totals $15,520,416 for all funds, down $588,557 from the budget for the current fiscal year.

Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the budget in conjunction with the June 10 regular meeting of the board.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.