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Spencer to hold budget public hearing Tuesday

SPENCER — Spencer residents can comment on the proposed 2013-2014 budget during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall.
Town Manager Larry Smith has proposed no tax rate increase for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1. Employees would receive a 2 percent cost-of-living wage increase, as well as longevity pay, but no merit raises.
The total general fund budget is $2,462,278.
The tax rate would remain 62.8 cents per $100 of valuation, and Smith proposes balancing the budget by taking $28,000 from the town’s fund balance.
Dipping into the town’s reserves is justified because it’s a one-time expense and will help with future budgeting, Smith said.
The budget gives up to $50,000 to the Land Management Department to conduct the strategic study of the town’s buildings and parks.
The study, which will detail the town’s plan for replacing all types of property from Town Hall to playground equipment over decades, will help Spencer win grants and no-interest loans, aldermen agreed last month. They told Smith they would rather take from the fund balance than raise taxes and fees.
The town’s last facilities needs study was done in 1955.
Other budget highlights include:
• Governing body up $3,225 to cover municipal election costs in an odd-numbered year.
• Administration up $18,581 due to unemployment compensation costs and Small Town Main Street funding and other economic development activities.
• Police up $32,011 for a car, camera, radar and software
• Fire down $18,974 because the new fire truck cost less than expected
• Streets up $1,250 to replace a mower
• Solid and yard waste down $7,962 due to savings from the new recycling program
• Land Management up $49,282 for the facilities needs study
• Library up $453 for ongoing debt service on the building repair project
• Recreation up $3,050 for landscaping and improvements at Library Park
• Garbage fees remain $15 a month for residential, $25 a month for commercial
Also on Tuesday’s agenda:

• Smith’s town manager report
• Mayor Jody Everhart’s report

• General public comment
• A request from Rowan County United Way
• Community Appearance Commission appointment
• Request to waive the fee at Library Park by Central United Methodist Church
• Resolution to continue participating in Small Town Main Street
• Discussion of mailbox location requirements
• Audit contract and engagement letter
Also, Smith will hold office hours at 6 p.m. today for aldermen who want to discuss the agenda in more detail. Office hours are open to the public.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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