Nash sets public hearing on proposed $89M budget

By Darla Slipke

Staff Writer

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Nash County commissioners plan to hold a public hearing Monday morning to allow people to discuss a proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The board will hold the public hearing during its regular monthly meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. Monday in the Claude Mayo Jr. Administration Building, 120 W. Washington St. in Nashville.

Afterward, county commissioners could choose to adopt the budget as it has been presented or to make changes to the budget and then adopt it. They also could wait to adopt the budget until a later date. The board must adopt a budget by June 30.

A copy of the proposed budget is available on Nash County’s website and in the county manager’s office.

After seeking guidance and direction from county commissioners, County Manager Zee Lamb presented the board with a proposed general fund budget of $89.22 million, which is a 1.61 percent increase from this year’s adopted budget but a 1.24 percent decrease from this year’s revised budget. The proposed budget requires no increase in any general fund taxes or fees.

The property tax rate would remain at 67 cents per $100 valuation.

A 2 percent across-the-board pay adjustment is included for all county employees, effective July 1. A reserve is budgeted for merit increases in the range of 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent for qualifying county employees.

County officials are proposing to set aside $250,000 for architectural services for renovation to the courthouse and sheriff’s office. They also have proposed to establish a $100,000 capital reserve for Nash Community College. The college would receive $3,324 more in current expense to pay for lighting at the roundabout.

Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools would not receive any increase in capital outlay or current expense funding under the proposed budget, which has been a source of disagreement among board members.

Four fire districts are requesting a rate change for the coming fiscal year. The Harrison (Battleboro) District is requesting a 1-cent increase; the Momeyer District is requesting a 2-cent increase; the Middlesex District is requesting a 3-cent increase and the Salem District is requesting a 4-cent increase.

The proposed budget includes four new positions: A parks and recreation office assistant, a soil and water administrative assistant, a sheriff’s civil records specialist and a Department of Social Services child protective services agent. Six previously frozen positions were eliminated in the proposed budget.

The budget proposal also includes $125,000 for the Department of Social Services in response to the ongoing implementation of NC FAST, which stands for North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology.

County commissioners decided not to include a new solid waste convenience center fee for homeowners in municipalities that provide door-to-door solid waste collection services in the proposed budget for next fiscal year like they originally had planned. Earlier this year, the board directed the county manager to include a new solid waste fee of $25 per year per dwelling unit for homeowners in Bailey, Castalia, Middlesex, Nashville, Rocky Mount, Sharpsburg, Spring Hope and Whitakers. In turn, residents in those municipalities then would be able to start using the county’s nine solid waste collection convenience centers. The board also had directed the county manager to increase an existing solid waste fee that homeowners in rural, unincorporated areas of the county and homeowners in municipalities that do not provide door-to-door solid waste collection services pay from $96 a year to $100 a year, starting July 1.

However, board members changed their minds and decided against adding the new solid waste fee or increasing the existing fee.