China Grove Town Board to discuss budget on Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 1, 2015

When the China Grove Town Board meets Tuesday, it will discuss contents of a $4.32 million budget that includes the purchase of a new fire engine for its fire department.

The board’s meeting will start at 7 p.m. and be held in the council chambers — 333 N. Main Street. The town board’s agenda plans budget discussion for the conclusion of Tuesday’s meeting. The town board will receive an update on Wi-Fi hotspots that have been placed at various locations around town, discuss the South Rowan Christmas Parade, have a brief recess and reconvene at 7:30 p.m. for a budget discussion, according to the agenda.

The town’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2016 — starting on July 1, 2015 — projects $4.32 million in expenditures. Of the total expenditures, about $4.2 million is budgeted to be used for the town’s government operations and $119,000 is budgeted to be used for street projects. The budget includes a 2 cent per $100 increase in taxes. The increase is more than what the town would need to keep its revenue neutral when compared to the current budget year.

The recommended budget includes a 5 percent cost of living pay increase for town employees. It would be the second time since 2009 the town board has given a cost of living increase to its employees.

The largest single expense in the recommended town budget is a new fire truck. In April, Interim Fire Chief Mike Zimmerman spoke to the town board during a budget work session, estimating a fire truck would cost about $675,000. The town’s budget recommends taking out a loan on $500,000 of the fire truck’s cost, and using $175,000 from cash reserves to make a down payment.

The town’s recommended budget also allocates a small portion of cash reserves to balance the coming year’s budget.

The fire department is projected to see a monstrous jump in expenditures for the coming budget year. For the current year, expenses were originally estimated to $540,100. For fiscal year 2016, fire department expenses are projected to be $1.18 million.

The police department is projected to be second largest in expenditures. at $998,400, a small increase when compared to the projected amount for the current year.

The town’s budget summary states that all departments will receive an increase in utility and fuel expenses.

The largest single revenue source in the coming year, according to the recommended budget, is $1.55 million from ad valorem taxes. Sales taxes are projected to be the second largest revenue source at $725,000.

Other business items scheduled for consideration during Tuesday’s meeting include:

• A resolution requesting money from the State of North Carolina to realign and install a turn lane at the intersection of East Church Street, U.S. Highway 29 and Lentz Road

The resolution asks for $137,500 in discretionary funds from its local legislative delegation to realign and install a turning lane at the intersection.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation estimates the total cost of the project would be $275,000, according to the resolution.

• Discussion about how the town board should address and pay for upgrades at its community building and tennis courts

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.