No tax increase in proposed county budget

May. 01, 2013 @ 07:52 PM

Vance County commissioners approved reception of a proposed budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year that includes no tax increases.

The commissioners met in a special called meeting Wednesday afternoon, receiving the budget on May 1 for the first time in recent memory.

During the called meeting mainly set for discussion of budget matters, a written resolution opposing proposed changes in current voting requirements and voting schedules also received board approval.

The property tax rate remains at 78.2 cents per $100 of valuation, calculated on an estimated tax base of over $2.7 billion.

According to Jerry Ayscue, the county manager, increasing the tax rate by two cents would yield more than $500,000 in additional revenue and lessen dependence on the fund balance.

He asked for the board’s consideration in increasing the tax rate to generate more revenues in the tight budget.

“There was no tax increase, but I want to point out to you that I, as your county manager, had a recommendation there for our consideration,” Ayscue said. “This is a tight budget, and I think you should consider a two cents tax increase.

“I think this is something we need to consider, and there may be some other source of revenues that could be used otherwise.”

In a budget message presented to commissioners in the county manager’s report, every effort was made to analyze each financial request and community needs far exceed the limited level of available county resources. If all requests were to be funded, the tax rate would have to be over 97.2 cents, or an increase in the property tax rate of about 23 percent.

“This is a budget that will challenge us to monitor it closely, and make modest decisions,” Ayscue said.

The special fire tax rate, a rate charged in addition to county and or municipal taxes if the property is located in a fire tax district, will remain the same at 4 cents.

Tommy Hester, the chairman of the commission who requested the preliminary budget on May 1, took a moment to express his satisfaction.

“Thank you to everybody in county government,” Hester said. “We have never had a budget presented to us on May 1.

“This gives us many opportunities in the coming months to become more educated on the budget and understand what’s going on.”

Commissioners resolved to continue with budget work sessions after their regularly scheduled board meeting on May 6.

With additional time in place for commissioners to review the budget, Hester encouraged them to meet with Ayscue or David Beck, Vance County’s finance director, regarding questions or concerns.

The first formal budget hearing was approved for June 3, at 6 p.m. during a regular commissioners’ meeting, but could be scheduled sooner at the commissioners’ discretion. A public notice 10 days prior to any public hearing is required.

A resolution opposing the voter ID proposal in the General Assembly was read by Ayscue and given approval by Terry Garrison, Deborah Brown, Archie Taylor and Eddie Wright. Hester, Gordon Wilder and Dan Brummitt voted against the resolution.

The adopted resolution will be sent to Raleigh where the bill requiring voters to present photo identification passed the N.C. House April 24 in a vote split mainly along party lines.

The bill is now in the hands of the Senate where it will either be dissolved or become a law.

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