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China Grove adopts 2020-2021 budget

Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost

CHINA GROVE — During a brief meeting with little fanfare on Tuesday, China Grove adopted its 2020-2021 budget.

No members of the public commented during a public hearing about the document. Council members made a point of thanking town administration for their work and the difficult decisions that had to be made before the unanimous vote to adopt the budget.

The nearly $3.89 million budget’s biggest expense by department is $1.15 million for the town’s police department, followed by public works at $762,000 and fire service at $597,000.

The budget includes $468,000 in debt service.

Most of the town’s revenue is collected from property and sales taxes. The estimates for the upcoming fiscal year are $1.93 million in property tax collection and $956,500 in sales tax. The town’s property tax rate is 54 cents per $100 of valuation.

The property tax did not increase this year, and last year the town council decreased property tax by four cents.

The budget included an amendment to decrease the public works and parks and recreation budgets by small amounts to increase the administration budget by $12,500. This did not affect the total appropriations, only moving some funds between line items.

Police department salary appropriations are set to remain similar to the previous year — at just more than $600,000. Fire salary appropriations are also only slightly above the previous year, at $240,000.

Town Manager Ken Deal previously said he “kept it as lean as possible” due to anticipated loss of sales tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Deal expects a sales tax decrease of $83,500.

The ordinance did not fulfill a number of budget requests and will be balanced by pulling $168,000 from the town’s fund balance to balance its budget this year. Among the unfulfilled requests were merit pay raises for town employees.

The Post previously reported the council met in March for its annual budget retreat to set its priorities. Some projects at the top of the list were two bathrooms at the town’s community center, town park amenities, street repairs and funding town storm water and waste management.

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