Public hearing for China Grove budget scheduled today

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, June 7, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

CHINA GROVE — The town board today will give residents a chance to weigh in on how tax revenue is spent in the coming fiscal year.

During its 7 p.m. meeting, the China Grove Town Council will hold a public hearing on its 2016-2017 fiscal year budget. The meeting and public hearing will take place at China Grove Town Hall, 333 North Main Street.

It’s likely that the China Grove will approve the budget following the public hearing.

Town Manager Ken Deal’s proposed budget doesn’t make many changes when compared to current year expenditures. Deal’s proposed budget also wouldn’t raise China Grove’s property tax rate, which currently sits at 58 cents per $100. The budget estimates $4.43 million in general fund expenditures and $4.43 million in general fund tax revenue. However, a portion of the money used to balance China Grove’s budget comes from savings — known as the town’s fund balance.

Even with a withdrawal, Deal says the town’s fund balance won’t dip below the state-recommended minimum.

New vehicles are the most significant expenditures in Deal’s proposed budget.

At $675,000, a new fire truck is projected to be the most expensive vehicle. Deal says China Grove would use a loan to pay for $400,000 of the fire truck’s cost. The remaining $275,000 would come from money the town has saved.

The Town of China Grove would also purchase two police cars — at a total cost of $70,000 — and a $75,000 truck for the public works department.

Other purchases proposed in Deal’s budget include: $60,000 worth of air packs for the fire department, a leaf machine that costs $65,000, $25,000 worth of Christmas lights, $27,000 for a permanent stage in Hannah Park and $20,000 for a veterans memorial near the town’s community building.

The fire department and police department are budgeted to spend the most in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Deal has budgeted $1.2 million in fire department expenditures and $986,000 in police department expenditures.

In a written summary of his budget Deal said: “as in past years, this year’s budget is concise, conservative, and yet provides our citizens with needed services.”

The 2016-2017 fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30, 2017.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.