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China Grove considers new fee for sewer customers

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE ó The town’s 1,600 or so sewer customers may see a new monthly fee on their bills starting July 1.
Faced with a $200,000 hole in the current budget due to decreased water and sewer usage, town officials are trying to find a way to increase revenue in the upcoming budget without imposing a sewer and water rate hike.
During a recent budget workshop, the board discussed adding a monthly fee expected to be more than $5.
Town Manager Bill Pless noted that many other area towns have a similar charge.
The town’s utility budget took a major hit when Hanesbrands closed in December. The company was a major water user.
Officials are hopeful the reopening of the facility by Sustainable Textiles will boost water and sewer revenues.
But Pless said the company isn’t likely to be at full production until January 2010.
Though town officials say they are trying to avoid a rate hike, Pless said there could still be a small increase in the sewer rate.
Earlier this month, aldermen reviewed the town’s general fund budget. The board supported the town manager’s recommendation to withhold raises for town employees, but also to avoid laying any off.
Board members say their goal is to keep the town’s property tax rate at the current 38 cents per $100 of value.
Sales tax revenue is down about $60,000 this year. The town had budgeted $729,000, but will collect around $669,000.
The Board of Aldermen will review the total 2010 budget in a work session Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 105 Swink St.
The public hearing on the budget will be June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building.

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