Spencer unveils $5 million proposed budget

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022

SPENCER — The Town of Spencer unveiled its recommended budget for the coming fiscal year on Tuesday.

The Board of Aldermen called a meeting to discuss and view the document outlining a budget totaling about $5.07 million.

Anticipated revenues include $1.7 million in property tax, $1.07 million in sales tax, $211,000 in other taxes, and $1.37 million in other revenues. The budget also includes a $320,000 appropriation from its fund balance and $197,637 appropriated from its capital reserve. The town will also collect $169,562 in Powell Bill proceeds, a state-funded program for maintaining roads.

The tax rate in the proposal is set at 65.5 cents per $100 of valuation, the same rate as the current fiscal year.

The board will hold a work session on the budget next month ahead of its June 14 meeting. The town could adopt a budget at that meeting and is required to finalize one before the end of June.

Town Manager Peter Franzese said revenues in the current year are coming in better than expected, but the town has also made significant investments in the past few years in both staff and facilities, such as the new town hall.

Franzese told the board the town expects to end the current fiscal year with about $200,000 more in revenue than expenditures. The recommendation includes appropriating that money into the new budget via the fund balance.

The new budget is significantly larger than the previous year’s because the town has received more than $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding. That money will be used to help pay for smaller projects throughout the town during the next three years. Included in those projects is $71,000 for the Yadkin River Trail Head project and $201,997 for the new town park project.

The budget includes a 5% cost-of-living pay increase for employees beginning in July. Franzese said the increase will keep the town competitive and the budget includes the first debt service payment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the new town hall facility. The town has a 30-year, $2.8 million loan agreement with the federal agency.

Franzese said the town is expecting development fees to go up because of increased activity and about $16,000 is expected to be the return on town investments.

The expenditures in the recommended budget are split between town departments as outlined below:

Governing body: $267,157

Administration: $827,206

Police: $1.38 million

Fire: $859,055

Streets: $546,397

Solid Waste: $809,948

Library: $89,262

Recreation: $91,640

Powell Bill expenses: $169,562 split between personnel, operating expenses and capital outlay.

The budget continues full-time staff for the fire department and would add a full-time office assistant position rather than the current part-time position.

The budget also includes technology upgrade for the police department, money for nuisance abatement, more supplies for officers, the replacement of three outdated patrol vehicles, design for a fire station expansion and equipment for firefighters.

 

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About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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