Salisbury budget sets tax rate at 61 cents per $100 valuation; 58 cent rate would be revenue neutral

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council held a special meeting Tuesday to go over the upcoming fiscal year budget for 2023-2024. The council will be holding several meetings in the coming weeks for the public to make suggestions and give their opinions on the overall budget.

City Manager Jim Greene and Finance Director Wade Furches presented the plan to council, outlining the updated tax information as well as showcasing the different programs that the city will be strategically funding.

The recommended city budget is just over $108 million, which includes a general fund of $54.1 million. The budget includes a tax rate of 61 cents per $100 of property valuation, a decrease from last year’s tax rate of roughly 72 cents. Rowan County’s revaluation increased property values 25.67 percent. While Salisbury’s revenue-neutral tax rate is calculated at 58 cents per $100 valuation, Greene is recommending the 61-cent rate to fund council priorities, such as debt service for the new Fire Station 3 and other law enforcement needs.

“While limited revenues continue to constrain city investment in programs and assets, this recommended budget helps Salisbury address many infrastructure and operational concerns, and better positions the city to prepare for growth and increased demand for services,” Greene said. “The recommended tax rate reinforces our commitment to fiscal stewardship, service efficiency, strategic investment, maintenance of infrastructure, and planning and preparation for growth.”

The city has calculated the property taxes that residents will need to pay. The average property valuation increased by 25.67 percent since last year, with the city using $150,000 for each home’s value. Using the revenue-neutral tax rate of 58 cents, this year’s taxes would be $1,093 for that now $188,505 home. The tax increase would be $13.93 over last year’s taxes of $1,079.

Using the recommended tax rate of 61 cents, this year’s taxes would be $1,150 for that now $188,505 home. Compared to last year’s taxes of $1,079, the tax increase would be $70.48.

An incomplete list of proposed items in the recommended budget include: $75,000 for crime reduction initiatives; $100,000 for in-park cameras, stormwater and other projects; $353,000 for street lighting and traffic safety improvements; $200,000 for neighborhood revitalization; and $30,000 for small business entrepreneur development.

There will be a planned increase of stormwater fees by $0.40 per month to go towards the city’s master plan implementation. However, there will be no planned increases in water and sewer rates, recycling and solid waste fees, and in parks and recreation fees.

Council will hold a community input meeting on Thursday, June 1, at 5 p.m. at city hall. At the session, the public can share their thoughts on the proposed budget. A public hearing about the budget will be held on Tuesday, June 6, at 6 p.m. at the regular city council meeting. There will also be an additional work session starting an hour before the June 6 meeting. Council must adopt a final budget by June 30.