Locust’s $5.1 million budget to keep property tax at 36 cents

Published 1:58 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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The City of Locust’s proposed 2022-2023 budget will keep the property tax rate at 36 cents per $100 valuation. It is the 25th consecutive year the residents of Locust have not experienced a tax increase.

The budget was introduced during the May 19 council meeting, though it’s still just a draft and things can change. A public hearing will be held during the June 9 meeting, when it will likely be adopted.

City Administrator Cesar Correa wrote in his budget letter that each one cent on the tax rate generates approximately $64,812 in revenues, up from $60,520 from the previous budget.

“The presented budget reflects a conservative revenue forecasting that we believe meets the needs of our operations,” Correa said in his letter. “At the same time, we continue to look forward to addressing capital and infrastructure needs that our community faces as our population continues to grow.”

Locust is valued at around $648 million, with the city’s tax base having increased about 30 percent since fiscal year 2018, Correa told council.

The proposed budget totals about $5.1 million for both the General Fund and Enterprise Wastewater Fund, an increase from the previous fiscal year’s city-wide budget of $4.7 million.

Correa is recommending no increases for residents’ sewer and solid waste fees.

The General Fund budget for this fiscal year is $3.8 million, an increase from last year’s of $3.4 million. Major appropriations include $1.5 million for public safety, $636,00 for general government, $479,000 for parks and recreation, $473,000 for public works, $207,000 for streets (Powell Bill) and $79,000 for central services.

The recommended Capital Improvement Program for the upcoming fiscal year includes funding to complete a Master Plan for the parks and recreation department; funding to complete street connection between Market Street and the post office; purchase of a new Dodge Charger vehicle for the police; civicClerk software for agendas and minutes retention; and sidewalk repairs and wastewater improvements to isolation valves and the installation of telemetry systems.

The city will also complete improvements to the North Basin Sewer over the next year using $1 million dollar from American Rescue Plan funds, $800,000 in ARPA funding through the state secured by N.C. Rep. Wayne Sasser along with System Development Fees proceeds, and a small amount of fund balance reserves.

The total wastewater expenses is $1.3 million, the same as last budget, and includes $256,000 for wastewater compensation and $650,000 for wastewater treatment.

The General Fund revenue, which totals $3.8 million, includes $1.7 million from the property tax, $800,000 from sales tax, $185,000 from utility franchise tax, $215,000 from solid waste fees.

The Wastewater revenue, which totals $1.3 million, includes $900,000 for user fees, $115,000 for availability fees and $100,000 from system development fees.

A copy of the budget is on file with the city clerk, and will be available during normal business hours within 10 days prior to the June 9 public hearing.

In other news from the May 19 meeting:

• It was announced the city next month is set to pay off the remaining mortgage (more than $1.5 million) it owed for the construction of Locust City Hall about a decade ago.

• Council scheduled three rezoning public hearings for the June 9 meeting: Tuscano Homes, Buzzed Vikings and Dunkin Donuts.

• Police Chief Jeff Shew introduced council members to Daniel Longtin, Locust Elementary’s new school resource officer.


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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