East Spencer 2018-19 budget calls for 3-cent property tax increase

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 8, 2018

EAST SPENCER — Residents of East Spencer haven’t seen a tax increase in many years, but if the proposed 2018-19 fiscal year budget is approved later this month, they will pay a rate that’s 3 cents more.

The budget totals $2.4 million.

The current property tax rate of 63 cents per $100 valuation has remained the same for a number of years, town officials said.

The 3-cent tax increase will raise the tax on a property with a $100,000 valuation by $30 annually. The owner of a property with a valuation of $75,000 will pay an added $22.50 each year.

The increase would mostly cover the costs of personnel, vehicles, and equipment for both the police and fire departments.

The board held its first budget meeting April 30 with a request from the police and fire departments for increases to cover the cost of employees.

Here is a breakdown of major parts of the budget proposal:

Police Department

Police Chief Sharon Hovis requested a pay increase for employees across the board to remain competitive with neighboring departments. The increase would include her salary. In the previous budget, the Police Department had $202,065 for salaries. For the upcoming fiscal year, Hovis has requested $255,666.

Fire Department

Fire Chief Shawn McBride requested money for volunteer stipends, turnout gear and equipment. The largest request was for the purchase of a 2018 Spartan S-180. The board approved the purchase on April 17.

The purchase will require a 15-year loan at a total cost of $428,000, or $36,509 in annual installments.

In addition to equipping the department with a truck, the department also requested money to replace turnout gear at the cost of $4,200.

Garbage collection

The budget is increasing by 2.1 percent, but the town elected to not pass along the cost to residents. This is the second year the cost of waste collection has increased without higher fees for customers. All other fees charged by the town are expected to remain the same.

Water/sewer fund

Salisbury-Rowan Utilities will increase rates to the town by 2.1 percent, plus an additional average of $3,500 per month in sewer fees that have not been charged to the customer in the recent past.

Last year, the town did not increase the fees for sewer and water service even though the rate to the town increased. Based on the increase from Salisbury-Rowan Utilities as well as the additional $3,500 per month in the sewer bill, a 2.5 percent increase to customers is being requested in the budget.

Recreation Department

The park will open in spring 2019 with a splash pad. No money was budgeted for year’s summer program.

The board is expected to adopt the budget at a June 19 work session. The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 105 S. Long St.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.