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Governments across Rowan thinking small in budget planning

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
Municipal officials across Rowan County are thinking small as they put together budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.
No one is looking at a property tax hike and all are dealing with dwindling sales tax revenue.
The mantra has quickly become: “No raises, no layoffs.”
Here’s how some towns’ budgets are shaping up:
Granite Quarry
Officials have already cut all the line items in the upcoming 2010 budget.
Town Manager Dan Peters said the proposed budget doesn’t have any pay raises for employees, but it includes no layoffs, either.
Sales tax revenue is projected to be down about $60,000. In a normal year, the town would get about $380,000. This year’s figure dropped to $320,000.
While revenue is down, other costs are up, including garbage collection.
Peters said the town’s goal is to make the cuts necessary to keep the current rate of 33 cents per $100 valuation.
While the drop in sales tax revenue is the immediate problem, Peters expresses concern that falling property values will result in a drop in property tax revenue over the next couple of years.
With a bleak outlook for both sales and property taxes, Peters said expects all small towns to face uncertain times in the near future.
He is also concerned about the potential impact of a property revaluation if the county decides to conduct it in 2011 as scheduled.
A budget work session is set for Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Town Hall, 143 N. Salisbury Ave.
A public hearing on the budget will be held Thursday at 5 p.m. at Town Hall.
Rockwell
Aldermen and town officials are trying to overcome a $91,000 drop in revenue, mostly from falling sales taxes.
Town Clerk Sue Morton said the budget has been whittled down so the town can simply get by in the current economy.
There’s a new police car in the budget so far, but it may not make the final cut.
The tax rate is expected to stay at 27 cents per $100 valuation.
The board will hold a work session on June 1 at 3 p.m. at Town Hall, 202 E. Main St.
Faith
The Faith Board of Aldermen will have its first workshop for the full board Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 100 N. Main St.
Town Clerk Karen Fink said committees have been working on the budget for the past couple of months. But Fink said there’s not a lot to work with.
No cost-of-living pay increase is planned, but there could be a small raise for the town employees. Faith has two full-time employees and one part-time employee.
“The revenue is down,” Fink said. “We didn’t have much to start with.”
Cuts have been made across the board to match spending with revenue.
The tax rate is likely to remain at 41 cents per $100 valuation.
A public hearing will be held on June 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

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