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Albemarle tax rate to remain same, other rates go up

Albemarle residents will not see a tax increase if the proposed city budget passes.

The Albemarle 2020-2021 proposed annual budget recommends the property tax rate remain at 64 cents per $100 valuation.

City Manager Michael Ferris, who presented the proposed budget during Monday’s city council meeting, noted that preparing this year’s budget was difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The budget was almost drafted and balanced when the coronavirus issue hit and had to be completely redeveloped,” Ferris said. “Each year developing the budget has its own set of challenges and that was certainly the challenge this year.”

The annual budget is nearly the same in total as last year’s budget, almost $70.5 million.

The proposed 2020-2021 budget totals $16.7 million for the General Fund, an almost 4 percent decrease from the FY 19-20 adjusted budget. 

Operations of the Fire and Police departments account for almost 54 percent of the General Fund budget expenditures. The total cost of these two departments is $9 million, while the proposed property tax rate generates revenues totaling $6.9 million.

In his budget letter, Ferris wrote that a new small business loan program is being funded with $50,000 is dedicated to the program. The budget also contains a $25,000 increase in the General Fund share of street maintenance and repair. Other funded projects include a major sidewalk rehabilitation project in conjunction with the new Pfeiffer University health sciences center project, sidewalk improvements on South Street, a new roof on the E.E. Waddell Center and Fire Station No. 1, among others. 

The acquisition of two police vehicles, mobile data terminals, mobile printer replacements and wireless data devices for each officer in the Police Department are also funded along with a third school resource officer. 

The Water and Sewer Fund Budget is proposed at $11 million, a 3.75 percent increase from the FY 19-20 adjusted budget. The proposed budget includes a 6 percent water and an 8 percent sewer rate increase.

Some of the projects include replacing roadway lights with LED lights and replacing carbon and fluoride tanks at the Jack F. Neel Water Treatment Plant.

The Electric Budget is proposed at $32.7 million, a .4 percent increase from the FY 19-20 adjusted budget. One of the projects will be repainting the decorative street light poles in the downtown area. 

The Solid Waste Disposal Fund is proposed at $2.8 million, a 9.7 decrease from FY 19-20 adjusted budget.

In all funds, the budget proposal does include a 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment for all employees, which becomes effective in July. 

Copies of the budget for public inspection will be available at the City Hall, at the Albemarle Branch of the Stanly County Library, as well as on the City’s website.

 A public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m. June 1.

 

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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