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No tax hike in city budget plan

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Rocky Mount's proposed fiscal year 2019-20 budget doesn't call for a property tax increase.

The spending plan is set at $220 million with a general fund of $71 million with no tax or utility rate increases. City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney present the proposed budget Thursday at a special workshop meeting of the City Council.

The real and personal property tax rate would remain at 68.5 cents per $100 of value. Currently, the Special District Tax rate is 20 cents, the Dog Tax is $10 per dog and $25 per vehicle.

The proposed budget priorities include:

■ Event Center at $5.5 million.

■ Road widening utility relocation at $2.7 million.

■ Sewer outfall rehabilitation at $1.78 million.

■ City Hall improvements at $1.64 million.

■ Downtown redevelopment at $130,000.

Staffing expansion calls for two management analysts, a wellness coordinator, unfreezing of a human relations specialist, a billing technician, an administrative secretary for Development Services and a full-time compliance coordinator in Community and Business Development.

Housing is the No. 1 priority for the council, with a $1 million total investment of $500,000 Housing Redevelopment Grants, $150,000 in current housing incentives and $350,000 in new housing funding.

"The focus is on increasing the supply of safe, quality, efficient, affordable housing in the city," Small-Toney said.

Demographics are driving housing needs, including inward migration comprised of elder, minority residents with lower incomes rather than folks migrating out of the city; working poor comprised of a larger share of young, single or divorced, less-educated residents; and the city being below the greater metropolitan area, according to the plan.

The purpose of increased funding for housing is to develop partners with collective ambition; increase safe, efficient, affordable housing; and address specific needs of the city's 14 impoverished neighborhoods. Strategies includes rehabilitation and new construction.

The spending breakdown of $1 in revenue is: 52 cents for public services, 15 cents for Parks and Recreation, 10 cents for debt service, 6 cents for public works, 6 cents for administration, 3 cents for legislation, 3 cents for Community Development, 1 cent for Development Services and 1 cent for the Event Center.

Not funded in the fiscal year 2019-20 budget are a downtown pedestrian bridge, a police property and maintenance facility, department supplemental requests and budget balancing.

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