By Shavonne Potts
ROCKWELL ó Rockwell’s property tax rate would be unchanged under the proposed 2007-2008 budget, but town residents would see their bills increase because of a countywide property revaluation.
The proposed $1.2 million spending plan, discussed by the Board of Aldermen at a second budget session this week, would keep the tax rate at 25 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
However, the revaluation increased those assessed values across Rowan County. In Rockwell, the owner of a $100,000 house should see a bill about $18 higher than this year, even without a tax increase.
To make the upcoming budget revenue-neutral ó that is, to adjust the tax rate so the town takes in the same amount of property-tax revenue as this year ó aldermen would have to reduce the rate to 23.2 cents.
It looks like Rockwell employees will receive a 3 percent raise in the coming budget year.
Aldermen decided at their budget session Tuesday morning to give employees the raise, a decision they debated heavily at a budget session last month.
The board was divided last month on whether to give employees a 2 percent longevity bonus, but the decision at Tuesday’s meeting came with very little talk.
The board also:
– Allocated money from the fund balance to buy a backhoe and a pickup for the Public Works Department, which would replace equipment beyond-repair, and a patrol car for the Police Department.
The board discussed the need for replacements at the last budget session.
Public Works Director Tim Linker said the department needs something to pick up limbs. He estimated it would cost between $1,800 and $2,000. He said he hoped to spend $24,000 to $26,000 replacing a 1991 model pickup with 70,000 miles.
Board members talked Tuesday about their options, including the type of truck needed, how much they could get by selling the old one and whether it would be beneficial to buy a bigger truck than the one being replaced.
Police Chief Hugh Bost said he needed to replace a 10-year-old cruiser that has many mechanical problems. The car to be replaced, he said, could probably make it another six months.
Alderman Bill Ridenhour, who questioned the purchases last month, suggested taking the money from the fund balance.- Agreed to have an employee Christmas party. The board went back and forth in a previous meeting about whether to have a party at all. The board decided at this week’s meeting to budget $1,500 for a catered party and to use any money left over to help pay for insurance cost increases.
– Earmarked $2,500 in the administrative department’s maintenance budget for Web site upkeep.
Alderman Terry Beaver proposed that the board look into hiring someone to maintain the town’s Web site. Board members said they would like to see various things on the site updated, including the minutes from the monthly meeting, planning board updates, zoning forms and pictures.
A public hearing to discuss the budget will start at 9 a.m. on June 27.
By Shavonne Potts