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City’s proposed fiscal year budget now online

SALISBURY — City Manager Doug Paris’ proposed budget for the coming fiscal year is now available on the city’s website.
To view the document, go to www.salisburync.gov and click on the gray “budget” tab. Then scroll down past the audit documents to “Budget FY2015” and click to open.
City Council will hold a public hearing on the budget at 4 p.m. June 17 at City Hall. Budget workshops, which are also public meetings, are scheduled for 10 a.m. June 23 and 24.
The new fiscal year begins July 1.
Calling this budget year a “challenging one,” Paris has proposed a 2.9 cent property tax rate increase, 2.9 percent water-sewer fee increase, $1 monthly garbage fee increase and a rate increase for Fibrant television customers. He said the city is facing state cuts, higher costs and requests for more services from Salisbury residents.
Nearly all of the proposed 2.9 cent property tax increase — 2.45 cents — would cover the loss of $659,000 caused by the expiration of “transitional hold harmless” payments that the state has been making to a group of about 100 cities in North Carolina, including Salisbury.
The allocations were enacted by the legislature in 2002 to help communities make up the loss of shared revenue from a tax on business inventory, which had been repealed.
The additional .45 cents in Paris’ proposed tax rate increase would go to four projects:
• Widening Newsome Road, including the city’s first bike lanes, $279,000
• Sidewalks on Bringle Ferry Road, $59,730
• Expanding public transit service to Wallace Commons and medical offices on Julian Road, about $40,000
• More street lights in the West End, about $40,000
The $1 increase to the garbage fee would pay for the annualized cost of an automated single-arm trash truck and new rollout trash carts that work better with the automated truck.
For the past two years, the city has not raised water-sewer rates. Paris is proposing a 2.9 percent increase next year to cover ongoing operational cost increases including:
• Increased maintenance to replace broken or leaking sewer infrastructure
• Higher cost for Salisbury-Rowan Utility employee health care
• A 2.5 percent merit pool for SRU employees.
The Fibrant rate increase affects TV subscribers only, increasing their rates by about $2 to $12 a month based on their channel package. Paris and City Council members have said they do not want to lose a single customer due to the increase, and the city will work with subscribers to find a cheaper package if desired.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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