Proposed Granite Quarry budget holds tax rate steady, lays out capital project costs

Published 12:05 am Sunday, May 26, 2024

GRANITE QUARRY — Granite Quarry Acting Town Manager Jason Hord presented the final budget proposal to the town council during a specially-called meeting on Monday. The new budget proposes to keep the tax rate the same, a conclusion that is based on weeks of discussions among the council and the administration.

Granite Quarry currently sits at a tax rate of 44 cents per $100 of valuation, which is third-lowest among all municipalities in Rowan County, only being greater than Faith at 41 cents and Cleveland at $0.3936 (after calculating the fire rate). In his proposed budget, Hord outlined how the city compares to others in its peer group, which he included as Spencer at 55 cents, China Grove at 50 cents and Landis at 49 cents.

“As one can deduce, the result has often been stretching the workload capabilities of existing resources, the challenge to find or justify funding needed for more proactive goals, an increasing need to tap into fund balance for major (yet anticipated in municipal services) items and projects — if not simply postponing them from year to year,” wrote Hord in the accompanying town manager’s budget message.

The tax rate had been the subject of discussion through several budget workshops and town meetings in the past month. Hord had originally mentioned a tax increase as a possibility to help the town pay for capital projects that included a new fire truck, a new dump truck and park improvements.

“I’d love to see us accomplish everything in this budget without raising taxes,” said council member John Linker during a budget workshop meeting on April 20.

At that point the tax increase stood at a potential three cents, a rate that Hord said would have resulted in $123,525 in additional revenue for the town.

“Why raise the hackles of the whole town by increasing taxes for $125,000?” said council member Rich Luhrs during the April 20 meeting.

Hord’s budget that was presented keeps the tax rate at 44 cents per $100 of valuation.

The budget includes the purchase of a new dump truck for the Public Works Department as a one-time capital need, estimated within the budget as $92,000. Hord’s letter notes that staff performed due diligence to consider the purchase of a used truck, but that the higher mileage and usage that were included in available used trucks made that option not worthwhile.

The fire truck is included in the budget as debt service, as Hord has proposed to finance the estimated $1,075,700 purchase over five years, which would require $215,000 annual payments. The budget also includes funding for three full-time firefighter positions to help the department deal with reduced volunteer participation. The budget presented by Hord, who is also the town’s fire chief, states that the department and town hope to proactively maintain the ISO Class 1 rating.

The park improvements and improvements to the town square and downtown infrastructure are also included in the budget under the contingency and transfers section. Hord proposed that the budget for that be set at $856,621, of which $788,146 comes from American Rescue Plan Act funding.

The proposed budget also includes a four percent increase in the salaries for all town staff, which Hord wrote was a market adjustment to keep the town competitive in hiring. The town administration performed both an organizational culture and climate assessment and a study that compared Granite Quarry’s pay grades to comparable towns as part of a priority the town placed on retention, succession planning and recruitment, according to Hord’s accompanying letter.

After Hord presented the budget to the council, the members voted to set the public hearing for 6 p.m. on June 10. The hearing will be held during the council’s regularly schedule meeting at town hall, located at 143 N. Salisbury Ave.

The budget is available for viewing both at the town hall and on the town’s website,, on the administration department’s page.