Albemarle City Council approves $81 million budget

Published 1:34 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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Albemarle City Council issued a press release after passing its budget Monday night.

Albemarle City Council has approved the city’s operating budget for Fiscal Year 2023-2024. The approved budget totals $81,456,292 which includes all operating funds of the city. The budget is balanced and includes no property tax increase.

The budget process was developed to align with the goals and objectives of the City of Albemarle’s Strategic Plan. The plan was developed following responses from residents to a community survey, feedback from city staff, and input from City Council.

The City of Albemarle’s Strategic Plan includes five goals and strategies to achieve each goal:

• Organizational Capacity – Invest in our workforce to enhance city operations and efficiency to better serve the community.

• Safety & Security – Enhance resources and improve practices to protect our residents and safeguard the city in order to improve quality of life.

• Infrastructure – Invest in infrastructure needed to ensure reliable and consistent service delivery.

• Community & Economic Growth Opportunities – Guide growth and facilitate economic opportunities in order to benefit all residents and businesses.

• Inclusive Community Engagement – Enhance community amenities, programs, and services to engage residents of different backgrounds, lifestyles, and generations.

“The recommended budget includes initiatives that are the result of significant discussion, prioritization, deliberation, and is reflective of the Strategic Plan, and in numerous ways represents our philosophy for the City,” said City Manager Michael Ferris at his budget presentation to City Council on May 1, 2023. “It’s exciting to see our strategic plan now in action throughout the entire organization. We could not have reached this point without input from our residents, elected leaders, and city staff. Their combined feedback is shaping the city’s priorities today and in the future.”

The budget for fiscal year 2023-2024 has no increases in planning and zoning fees. The budget does not propose any across the board changes in electric rates. The average City of Albemarle residential customer has seen rates reduced by 15.5% in the last nine fiscal years.

The budget does include an increase of $5 in the motor vehicle registration fee to support increased funding of street maintenance and preservation activities. The budget also includes an adjustment in the solid waste collection fee to meet a contractual increase in the solid waste collection agreement.

The recommended budget does include a 3% water rate increase and 8% sewer rate increase. The overall need for rate adjustments is based on the significant investment the City continues to make in its system and the rising cost of doing business.

Budget highlights
• Increased funding for street preservation and rehabilitation;

• Acquisition of four Police vehicles for the Albemarle Police Department;

• Funding for additional rifles, body cameras and mobile equipment for the Albemarle Police Department;

• Acquisition of a second K9 for Albemarle Police Department;

• New School Resource Officer position which will provide a dedicated officer for each elementary school and bring the City to the level of having one City SRO at each of the four Stanly County Public School;

• Overhaul and upgrades to an existing Fire Department front-line engine and roof replacement at Fire Station One;

• Application and support of a SAFER Grant to provide additional staffing in the Fire Department;

• Funding for Advanced Meter Infrastructure meters and supporting infrastructure;

• Funding for continued upgrades to more efficient and brighter LED streetlights;

• Additional Lineworker position in the Electric Division;

• Additional Customer Service Representative position;

• Funding for improvements along the U.S. Highway 52 South to enhance system reliability;

• Funds for Phase 3 of wastewater inflow and infiltration project (improves wastewater plant efficiency);

• Repairs to water storage tanks and reservoir;

• New sewer jet truck;

• Two new dump trucks for Public Works and a maintenance staff truck for Public Works;

• Update to the Master plan for Albemarle Parks and Recreation to determine future programs, services, parks and amenities;

• Funding for Albemarle Parks and Recreation Kayak Rental Program;

• Support for Parks and Recreation special events;

• Funding for professional performances at the Albemarle Neighborhood Theatre; and

• New score boards at Optimist Park and EE Waddell Center.