Oxford budget includes property tax increase

Jun. 23, 2014 @ 05:37 PM

OXFORD — The 2014-2015 budget adopted by the Oxford Board of Commissioners on Monday evening will raise the ad valorem tax rate from 62 cents to 64 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Commissioners adopted the measure by a 6-0 vote.

Commissioner Calvin Harris was late to the meeting because of a medical appointment and did not cast a ballot.

“Let the record show that I was not here for the vote, but I would have voted in the negative,” he said.

Harris said he objected to a certain part-time employee making more than some full-timers and the lack of a planned reorganization.

An amount of $207,860 in fund balance will be used to offset increases in operating expenses.

The budget of $15.55 million includes $8.46 million in the general fund, with the remainder made up of special funds.

Ad valorem tax revenue of $3.39 million will provide the largest single source of general fund revenue.

“We have proposed a budget that keeps the level of service the same as last year with the exception of some planning efforts,” City Manager Randy Hemann said.

He pointed out although income from ad valorem taxes is higher, it is offset by increases of $59,814 in health care and $16,200 in unemployment insurance costs and decreases of $31,988 in utility franchise fees and $9,391 in sales and use tax revenue.

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

Water expenditures for the 2014-2015 fiscal year are projected to be $4.95 million, up $550,964 from the current year. As a result, water rates will rise by 7 percent. Hemann said the increase is due to two factors: a 4-percent increase in the cost of water provided by the Kerr Lake Regional Water System and investment in infrastructure, such as extending the water line to the Granville County Convention and Expo Center and the planned construction of an additional 500,000 gallon water tank.

Hemann noted seven full-time and two part-time positions have been cut over the last five years as economy measures. The 2014-2015 budget adds an administrative assistant — which has been a full-time temporary position — a mechanic and a public works director.

In order to reduce future expenses, the budget includes an addition of $37,500 to the reserve to enable the city to become self-insured for workers compensation in 2015-2016.

Oxford Mayor Jackie Sergent said the board should focus on controlling spending and quantifying how the dollars spent help the community.

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.