Granite Quarry looks to share costs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2011

By Mark Wineka
GRANITE QUARRY ó As Granite Quarry faces a likely property tax increase, Alderman Jake Fisher said his board should look at areas in which it might be able to share costs with other towns.
At a budget work session Monday night, he encouraged the Board of Aldermen to set up an initial meeting with Faith and Rockwell officials. There might be personnel or pieces of equipment ó such as a wood chipper, Fisher used as an example ó that the towns could share, instead of each townís buying its own.
No matter, Fisher said, the dialogue should start sooner rather than later.
ěIf we donít start,î he said, ěnothing happens.î
Faith and Granite Quarry already cooperate in law enforcement through their joint Granite Quarry-Faith Police Authority. Faith pays a 22 percent share of the police authority budget, for example, based on population.
In the 2011-12 fiscal year, beginning in July, the towns also are looking to share a zoning officer.
As of now, Granite Quarry aldermen face a proposed 2011-12 budget that would raise taxes from 33 cents per $100 valuation to 40 cents per $100 valuation.
The solid waste collection fee also would increase for residences from $8 a month to $10 a month. But homes that recycle would receive a $3-per-month discount, putting their solid waste charge at $7 a month.
Roughly 11 percent of Granite Quarry homes take advantage of recycling now.
Town Manager Dan Peters said for the owner of a $160,000 home the proposed property tax increase, coupled with the $2 increase for solid waste collection, would translate to an extra $10 a month, or $120 a year.
Aldermen are expected to act on the proposed budget at their June 6 meeting.
They also anticipate acting on a resolution supporting a Rowan County vote on a 1-cent option sales tax. If approved for the county, the additional penny on the sales tax could mean an extra $133,000 to $150,000 a year, Peters said.
ěThe local option sales tax would greatly assist in restoring revenues we have lost over the past three years,î Peters said in a recent message to state Reps. Fred Steen and Harry Warren.
Sales tax revenues for Granite Quarry dropped $113,847 from fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2010. ěWe estimate fiscal year 2011 will still have a drop from fiscal year 2008 of $103,000,î Peters added.
In addition, Granite Quarryís revenues from investments have dropped about $30,000 over the past three years, and property tax revenues were down $15,808 from 2009 to 2010.
ěThe total of all these lost revenues is approximately $149,00,î Peters said. ěThis does not take into consideration the 4.5 percent drop in property values due to revaluation.î
The proposed budget had one bit of good news. Aldermen approved the switch of medical insurance coverage from the N.C. League of Municipalities to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Peters said the change should save the town about $30,000 over the next fiscal year.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.