Granite Quarry adopts new budget with no tax increase, pays off firetruck

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2018

GRANITE QUARRY — The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen acted quickly Tuesday to approve a $2,248,568 budget for 2018-19.

No one spoke for or against the budget at a 5 p.m. public hearing.

The budget keeps the property tax rate at 41.75 cents per $100 valuation, but residents will see an increase of $1 a month — from $11 to $12 — on waste collection or “environmental” fees.

Tes budget covers the fiscal year that starts Sunday and extends to June 30, 2019.

Here are some of the highlights:

• Town employees will get a 2.13 percent merit pay increase. Merit increases are determined by the town manager and department heads based on performance reviews and the town’s personnel policy.

• A “governing body” total of $67,727 includes a contingency line item of $50,015.

• The administration budget of $428,795 includes $20,000 for “visionary funds” related to helping with downtown revitalization and $7,500 for code enforcement services.

• The Police Department budget of $648,818 reflects the total operating cost for the Granite Quarry-Faith Police Authority. The town’s actual police expense is $508,023, when counting Faith’s contribution of $140,793.

• The budget allows for the purchase and outfitting of a new police car at $37,500.

• The Fire Department budget of $405, 203, which compares to $389,219 in 2017-18, goes further in addressing full-time and part-time salary needs. Town Manager Phil Conrad said, “We’ll see a higher level of service in the Fire Department.”

• Total expenses projected for the maintenance department are $234,515; parks and recreation, $39,000; environmental, $178,000; and projects, $185,903.

• A total of $70,000 will come from the fund balance, of which $50,000 will be paid back to the Carolina Thread Trail because the town did not use a Thread Trail grant for sidewalks. The other $20,000 represents the visionary funds in the administration budget.

• The town will take $84,457 from state-allocated Powell Bill funds to pay back its general fund for patch-and-pave street repairs made in 2017.

In general, aldermen praised Town Manager Phil Conrad and his staff for their work on the budget, which took several special sessions for aldermen this month.

“I think this is a really good budget for this coming year,” Alderman John Linker said.

He said he likes that it includes an allocation for revitalization and some money for code enforcement. He encouraged fellow board members to make sure residents know the town is growing, which may mean some part-time positions will have to become full-time in the future.

Because of that, Linker said, he’s not sure the town will be able to hold the tax rate where it is in years ahead.

In another matter related to the current fiscal year’s budget, aldermen passed a budget amendment that will take $74,891.57 from the fund balance and pay the remaining principal on a firetruck bought in 2015.

That move also will free up the 2-cents-per-$100-valuation portion of the tax rate that aldermen had obligated toward paying off the truck.

Each cent on Granite Quarry’s property tax rate brings in roughly $20,948, according to numbers in the new budget, which is based on a total property valuation in the town of more than $212.7 million.

Granite Quarry counts on an estimated collection rate of 98.11 percent for real, personal and vehicle taxes.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.