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China Grove OKs budget with 7 cent tax increase

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE — The town board approved its 2012-13 budget with no discussion. No one spoke during the public hearing regarding the budget.
The budget includes a 7-cent tax rate increase and no fee increases for services including garbage or recycling.
The total budget is $3,073,200. The board waffled on whether it would increase taxes at all, by a few cents or establish fees on services.
The former property tax rate was 47 cents per $100 of assessed value and now will be 54 cents. Residents’ tax bill for a $100,000 home would increase by $70.
According to a summary provided by town staff with the transfer of the town’s water/sewer system to Salisbury-Rowan Utilities, residents should see a savings in utility bills.
The board also:
• Received a monetary donation request from the South Rowan Historical Society to help cover the cost of needed repairs to the Roller Mill Museum.
Finance Director Mary Jo Bopp said the requested amount of $5,000 was already in the budget and had been budgeted for last year.
Historical Society President Barbara Doby said in a letter to the board the money would replace windows, an ice maker and other maintenance.
• Approved to revise its assigned vehicle take-home policy.
The board created this policy in 2007, which requires police officers who drive town vehicles to not go beyond 15 miles outside of the town limits and not leave the county.
The board approved to allow employees up to 15 miles and any other issue that may arise would be at the discretion of the town manager.
Police Chief Eddie Kluttz said there is one officer who lives 16 and a half miles outside the town limits and another who resides 18 miles out.
Councilman Charles Seaford said the difference was “splitting hairs.” He believed it should be up to the discretion of the town manager.
There was also some discussion about whether any officers live outside the county.
All of the officers live within the county.
• Revised its low-speed vehicle ordinance to add John Deere “Gators”, Husqvarna “HUVs” and any other manufacturers equivalent should be considered a slow moving vehicle.
The board originally approved its low speed vehicle ordinance in August 2010.
The ordinance allows golf carts and other low speed vehicles on designated public streets, roads, pathways and highways within the town’s jurisdiction.
A permit to operate the vehicle must still be issued by the police department and displayed.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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