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Spencer considers tax rate options

By Hugh Fisher
hfisher@salisburypost.com
SPENCER — It’s still too early to know what the property tax rate will be in Spencer for the next budget year.
Faced with a loss of property values due to revaluation, the town would have to raise property taxes in order to maintain the same amount of income.
Tuesday, Aldermen Reid Walters and Jeff Morris addressed a called meeting of the town board.
They wanted to discuss whether the board should instruct Town Manager Larry Smith to plan for a budget that keeps the current tax rate of 60 cents per $100 of value.
Not everyone saw a need to give that instruction.
For one thing, the tax rate is not set until a budget is approved.
And, for another, the N.C. League of Municipalities has not yet released sales tax revenue information that Smith will need to plan the budget proposal.
Alderman Delaine Fowler said it was the board’s job to be frugal with taxpayer dollars.
“Reduce when you can and make government more efficient,” Fowler said.
She said the town cannot continue to raise taxes.
But that means cuts will have to happen.
Current projections show the tax rate would have to go up by 5.6 cents to keep the same amount of money coming in after the revaluation.
Morris asked his colleagues to support a budget that would keep the tax rate at 60 cents, with no cuts to police or fire protection.
Walters said it was time for the town to maintain what it already offers.
No official action was taken.
Mayor Jody Everhart called on aldermen not to micromanage the budget process.
“Let’s see what we have to offer, and keep the lines of communication open,” Everhart said.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

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