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County manager: no tax increase needed in coming year

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County Manager Aaron Church says he won’t propose a property tax increase as part of his recommended budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

During Monday’s regular meeting, commissioners are scheduled get an initial glimpse at the county’s budget for the 2016-2017 budget year, which starts on July 1. They’ll also schedule a public hearing for Rowan residents to discuss their thoughts on the budget. A copy of the budget isn’t available yet, Church said.

Commissioners must hold a public hearing and pass a budget before July 1.

When asked about basic budget details, Church said his recommended budget won’t include a property tax increase. Additional tax revenue will cover any new projects or changes, he said. Although Church said he won’t propose an increase, commissioners ultimately have authority over whether there’s a tax increase.

Some most notable items in Rowan County’s upcoming budget will be capital expenditures, Church said. He said the courthouse and jail are scheduled to receive a new roof as part of the 2016-2017 budget. The Rowan County Health Department is also scheduled to receive a new roof in the upcoming budget, he said.

Church estimated the court and jail roof to be more than 20 years old. The Health Department building roof is at least 18 years old, he said.

Together, he estimated both roofing projects to cost more than $1.2 million, which will come from the county’s general fund.

Church said his proposed budget will also make notable changes to the Rowan County Emergency Services Department. One change will be reducing the length of shifts for paramedics, who will work 12-hour shifts instead of 24-hour shifts.

Church estimated that his proposed budget would be $142 million or slightly more. Last year’s approved budget was about $138.5 million.

He expects a recently implemented tax on services such as car repairs to result in a small bump in tax revenue.

Monday’s commissioners meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the Rowan County Administration Building — 130 West Innes Street.

In other business on Monday’s agenda:

• Commissioners will have a closed session to consider the reappointment of Tax Administrator Kelvin Byrd.

The tax administrator is one of the few positions commissioners have direct authority over. They’re required to appoint a tax administrator every two or four years — the length is up to the board.

Byrd came to Rowan in 2012 from Watauga County, where he worked for more than 20 years. He attended Appalachian State.

• Commissioners are scheduled to approve a three-year, $235,800 annual contract for janitorial services to Starbright Cleaning Service.

The contract is for 16 facilities owned by Rowan County.

• Commissioners are scheduled to consider a permit for Nazareth Childrens Home to shoot fireworks on July 3 at a property on Long Ferry Road near High Rock Lake.

• Commissioners will hold a public hearing to consider policies that align county ordinances with a recently completed pay classification study.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron 704-797-4246.

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