Locust’s proposed $5.6 million budget to keep property tax at same rate

Published 12:06 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

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The City of Locust’s proposed 2023-2024 budget will keep the property tax rate at 36 cents per $100 valuation. It is the 26th consecutive year the residents of Locust have not experienced a tax increase.

The budget was introduced during the May 11 council meeting, though it’s still just a draft and things can change. A public hearing will be held during the June 8 meeting, when the council will vote to approve it. The 2023-2024 fiscal year starts July 1.

Locust has an assessed valuation of all of its property of around $712 million, up from $648 million last year, City Administrator Cesar Correa told the council.

The proposed budget totals about $5.6 million for both the General Fund and Enterprise Wastewater Fund, an increase from the previous fiscal year’s city budget of $5.1 million.

Correa is recommending no increases for residents’ sewer and solid waste fees. Sewer rates have remained the same since 2015.

There will also be a 3% cost of living increase adjustment and staff are eligible to receive a merit increase based on their most recent performance evaluation.

Two full-time police officers will be hired along with a full-time Parks and Recreation employee.

The General Fund budget for this fiscal year is $4.3 million, an increase from last year’s of $3.8 million. Appropriations include $1.7 million for public safety, $690,750 for general government, $500,000 for environmental protection $553,000 for parks and recreation, $386,050 for public works, $322,000 for streets (Powell Bill) and $74,250 for central services.

The recommended capital projects for the upcoming fiscal year include purchase of two new Dodge Charger vehicles for the police; street sweeping/vacuum equipment; mower and in-field groomer; Town Center tree planting and Christmas decorations; North Basin sewer improvements with ARPA funds; and CivicRec for program/sport registration.

The total wastewater expenses is $1.3 million and includes $737,000 for wastewater treatment and $284,500 for wastewater compensation.

The General Fund revenue, which totals $4.3 million, includes $2 million from the property tax, $1.1 million from sales tax, $463,350 from miscellaneous revenues (of which $275,000 is from ABC income), $250,000 from solid waste fees and $190,000 from utility franchise tax and $145,100 from Powell.

The Wastewater revenue, which totals $1.3 million, includes $1 million for user fees, $115,000 for availability fees and $100,000 from system development fees.

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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