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Landis may need to raise taxes

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
LANDIS ó The town will need to look at a few options, including a possible increase in taxes and fees as well as reinstituting employee furlough days to create a balanced budget.
The town board met Saturday for its annual budget retreat to discuss the outlook for the coming fiscal year, however no final decision was made.
Town Administrator Reed Linn told the board the staff predict being $38,000 over budget in the general fund, which includes all departments ó administration, streets, fire, police, recreation and sanitation.
ěThis overage can be prevented by avoiding all unnecessary spending,î he said.
He also said to remain revenue neutral, the tax rate would need to increase by three cents. This would bring the rate to 43 cents per $100 evaluation. This was a route many aldermen said theyíd prefer not to go.
Alderman James Furr said rather than a tax increase heíd rather increase fees.
ěI would like to see staff look at anything we could do to save, change or cut. I am reluctant to increase taxes if thereís a way to find that money,î said Alderman Tony Hilton.
Mayor Dennis Brown said he would hope to leave the tax rate at 40 cents.
ěItís something the whole board would like,î he said.
Finance Officer Ginger Gibson said in the last fiscal year, the town saved $60,000 by implementing employee furloughs.
Linn said there were a few employees who did not like furloughs, but many more employees perferred them to unemployment.
ěIíd rather not balance the budget on the backs of the employees,î Hilton said.
Linn said thereís been many accomplishments since 2007, including:
retired debt from F&M Bank for the South Rowan area annexation, retired debt from the garbage truck and three police cars.
The town also:
bought seven police vehicles, two police bicycles (paid in full), bought four vehicles for the light department (paid in full), bought new computers for all the departments, a new fire engine, remodeled town hall, developed a recreation master plan.
Other accomplishments the town has made in the last three years were:
completing electrical conversions in the Beaver Street area, completing numerous sidewalk repairs throughout town and completing a sewer video project, which was funded through the Cleanwater Management Trust Fund.
Linn pointed out to the board that even through rough economic times where conservative spending was necessary, the town has still managed to complete many major projects to benefit the town and its residents.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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