Granite Quarry board OKs tax increase

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 6, 2011

By Mark Wineka
GRANITE QUARRY ó As expected from previous budget talks, the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen approved a property tax increase Monday night.
The tax rate will increase from 33 cents to 40 cents per $100 valuation as part of the $2.14 million budget. Itís the first tax increase for Granite Quarry in several years.
In addition, the monthly solid waste fee for Granite Quarry residents will increase from $8 to $10 for households that donít recycle. The monthly fee for households that do recycle will be $7.
For the owner of a $160,000 house ó the median value in Granite Quarry ó the property tax increase and additional solid waste costs will mean an extra $10 a month for town services, starting in July.
ěI donít like it,î Alderwoman Eloise Peeler said of approving a tax increase, ěbut I like the services.î
Mayor Mary Ponds described this yearís tough budget process as ěa long haul,î but she said the services provided by Granite Quarry are among the best, and this budget maintains things after several years of belt-tightening.
In brief, the budget allocates the following funds to these departments:
Administration ó $303,773
Governing body ó $15,667.
Planning and zoning ó $54,403.
Police ó $510,524.
Fire ó $346,967.
Maintenance ó $127,002.
Parks and Recreation ó $67,125.
Environmental ó $161,000.
Projects ó $478,300, including $475,000 for streets and utilities, $3,000 toward the East Rowan Express and $300 for Rowan Reads.
Town Manager Dan Peters said the $2-a-month increase in the solid waste fee still will not cover the townís total solid waste costs. The town chips in $3.78 per household per year to make up the difference.
In hopes of helping their budget in the future, aldermen approved a resolution Monday in support of a 1 percent local option sales tax for Rowan County.
The resolution asks that a referendum on the local option sales tax be placed before voters in November. The estimated $10 million in revenue generated by the additional tax would be divided among Rowan County government and the countyís municipalities.
Peters said previously the tax could generate at least $133,000 a year for Granite Quarry.
A proposed cold storage operation on Heilig Road also could help Granite Quarryís future revenue picture. Earlier Monday, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners approved county incentives and the sale of land for the project, led by William Malloy and Joey Emmons.
Town officials have had background discussions about the possibility of the cold storage facility for more than a year. Granite Quarry will annex the plant, while providing any help it can in securing grants for roads, sewer and other amenities.
Malloy said the new company hopes to start with a 100,000-square-foot building capable of holding 10,200 pallets. The facility will be designed to store food, including a special section for ice cream, at temperatures from minus 20 to 32 degrees.
The cold storage facility could see 80 to 100 transport trucks a day and employ 40 to 70 people.
Evans said if all things fell in place, the building could be ready by next February.
In another matter Monday night, aldermen approved a budget amendment providing that town salaries would be paid in this fiscal yearís budget for a 27th pay period. The original budget was calculated on only 26 pay periods in the year.
The required funds were transferred out of the adminstration departmentís contingency fund ($12,579), recycling ($9,600), garbage services ($3,545) and utilities ($1,522).
Aldermen also received an update Monday on the stalled Brookwood Drive culvert project. Read Wednesdayís edition for that discussion.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.