Granite Quarry budget hearing set for Monday; taxes could go down

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mark Wineka

GRANITE QUARRY — It’s not much, but, hey, it’s something.

Granite Quarry businesses and residents could see a slight decrease in their property taxes.

The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen will hold a public hearing and consider adopting a $2.5 million budget Monday evening that reduces the town’s property tax rate from 42 cents to 41.75 cents per $100 valuation.

The budget hearing will start at 5 p.m. at Town Hall. It will include Town Manager Phil Conrad’s review of the document, then open up the floor for public comment.

The board plans to reconvene at 5:30 p.m. to vote on whether or not to adopt the budget.

What would the reduction from 42 cents to 41.75 cents on $100 valuation mean in savings?

The owner of a $150,000 house would see his Granite Quarry property tax bill drop from $630 a year to $626.25 — a savings of $3.75. The owner of property valued at $250,000 would see his tax bill reduced from $1,050 to 1,043.75, a savings of $6.25 a year.

The town would continue to charge an $11-a-month fee for garbage collection.

According to Conrad’s budget message, each cent on the town’s tax rate generates $20,064, based on the town’s overall property valuation as of Jan. 1 of $204 million, and the town’s collection rate of 97.27 percent.

According to Conrad, highlights of the budget include the following:

• A 2.39 percent merit pool increase for employees based on performance reviews.

• Matching town funds of $56,000 toward an overall $490,000 CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) sidewalk project.

• Funding for all of the town’s debt service, which includes payments on police vehicles and the new fire truck.

• Necessary equipment purchases for all town departments.

• Operational expenses that will continue to give citizens services they now receive at current levels.

• Adjustments to cover inflation and contractual increases.

Breaking things down by departments, the proposed $2.5 million budget allocates $19,713 for the governing body, $437,186 for administration, $642,045 for police, $372,673 for fire, $199,989 for maintenance, $41,171 for parks and recreation, $169,564 for environmental and $633,534 for projects.

Within the administration budget is a $45,000 allocation in “visionary funds,” which will be used toward implementing some of the recommendations of the downtown master plan.

While the Police Department’s (Granite Quarry-Faith Police Authority) budget is $642,045, the town of Faith would pay $135,472 of that figure, putting Granite Quarry’s actual police costs at $506,573.

Faith’s revenue payment is calculated at 21.1 percent, based on population.

The 2016-2017 budget calls for the purchase and outfitting of a new police car.

Most of the “projects” budget reflects the money going toward sidewalks. The $490,00 project for new sidewalks includes $384,000 in federal CMAQ money and a $50,000 grant from the Carolina Thread Trail, to go with the town’s $56,000 contribution.

The sidewalks proposed would be along sections of U.S. 52, Kerns Street, Oak Street and Crook Street.

Conrad reports that $51,222 in Powell Bill funds will go toward patching and paving streets in the new fiscal year. The projects budget also includes $92,312 for debt services on the Brookwood culvert construction and the laying of a water line to serve the proposed Village of Granite subdivision.

The proposed 2016-17 budget of $2,515,875 is actually lower than the 2015-2016 budget of $2,666,510.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.