Upcoming Salisbury budget proposes increases to fees and the property tax rate

Published 12:05 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

SALISBURY — In a specially scheduled meeting on May 14, the proposed budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year was presented to the Salisbury City Council. While no action was taken during the meeting, it was the first step in getting the budget officially approved. According to its website, Salisbury’s fiscal year starts July 1 and ends on June 30 the following year. 

City Manager Jim Greene, Deputy City Manager Richard White, and Finance Director Wade Furches each presented different pieces of the budget to council. 

“Our city team is focused on preparing for growth, managing cost, developing innovative solutions and improving services. Limited revenues continue to constrain investment in programs and projects, but this recommended budget helps Salisbury address many infrastructure and operational needs and goals,” Greene said. 

Salisbury’s balanced budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year is $119,746,878, around an 11 percent increase from last year’s due to grants, infrastructure, compensation, new positions and increased benefits costs. The budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year was $93,381,414, bringing the city’s total spending up by $26,365,464, or roughly 28 percent, in three years. 

The recommended tax rate would see a 4.9 cent increase compared with the current rate. The increase stems from hiring more city staff, public safety, infrastructure, technology  and inflation. The average home value of $231,685 will have to pay an extra $114 annually in taxes. Greene said Salisbury’s value of 1 cent on the tax rate is nearly half of Kannapolis and significantly less than neighboring municipalities, hence the larger tax increase for residents. 

The proposed general fund is $68,053,759, with public safety, general government and transportation being its biggest expenditures. There was a recommendation for additional solid waste crew and equipment to be funded by a solid waste fee increase of $2.29 per month and a recycling fee increase of $0.48 per month. 

Furches said Salisbury’s most valuable revenue streams are from property taxes, unrestricted intergovernmental revenue such as a local option sales tax and charges of services. 

The stormwater fee will see a proposed increase from $4.81 per equivalent residential unit per month to $5.29 to pay for leaf collection, street sweeping and infrastructure projects. 

Greene suggested a water and sewer rate increase of 3.5 percent, or an extra $2.12 per month for residential units, to assist in funding Salisbury-Rowan Utilities’ growth and rising costs.

Other projects in the budget include implementing microtransit, new positions to the fire and police departments, city staff compensation and expanding the greenway system. 

There will be a public hearing regarding the budget on June 4 at the city council’s regular scheduled meeting. Greene said there is a possibility of another work session on June 11 before the budget is formally approved on June 18. 

Go to salisburync.gov/RecommendedBudget to see a copy of the proposed budget.

*This story has been corrected to show that the recommended tax rate would see a 4.9 cent increase, not 4.9 percent.