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Granite Quarry revenues trending up despite pandemic

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY — A projected dip on one revenue stream will be more than made up for by a climb in another for town government.

A forecast of revenues from utilities taxes as well as sales and use taxes show a project $58,450 gain over anticipated revenues according to information presented to the town Board of Aldermen this week.

Utility taxes were down 9.3% from last year in the first quarter of the fiscal year. If that trend continues, it will result in a $17,550 budget shortfall, but sales tax revenue, which is a much larger source of revenue, was up 4.16%, or $7,922, in the first quarter. If sales tax revenue stays up, the town will take in $76,000 more than an anticipated.

Property tax collection was down 32.5% in July compared to last year, translating to a drop of $21,699, but it was up $5.8% in August, which more than made up for the loss with an increase of $30,480. Granite Industrial Park was added to tax rolls, adding another $38,598 in revenue.

The town hall renovation project also came in below expectations and put $16,687.47 back into the town’s fund balance.

Town Manager Larry Smith said revenues were strong despite the pandemic. Other nearby municipalities anticipated losses as well.

“Revenues were looking good,” Smith said. “Better than we expected.”

Spencer also trended upward in sales revenue during the first quarter despite anticipating a decline.

Contracting with a design firm to create a new parks and recreation master plan was delayed while the town watched revenue streams, but placed on this week’s agenda with an estimated cost of $30,000.

The plan would take community input and work with a firm to assess park needs to then create a plan for changes that need to be made. It would be tied into the town’s downtown master plan as well.

Those changes would include repairs and improvements to parks and recreation facilities. The plan would lay out short-term goals and longer, multi-year goals as well.

There are also potential funding opportunities for the projects that would be laid out in the plan, including the N.C. Park Service Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.

The board decided to table a decision on commissioning the plan until January.

In other news from the meeting:

  • The town’s annual employee banquet is being planned, but it is not considering its traditional sit down meal in a large group
  • Christmas at the Lake is still being planned, but there will be social distancing required for refreshments and seeing Santa. There will be no lap photos.

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