Albemarle City Council receives proposed budget for review

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Interim City Manager Darren Rhodes presented his proposed 2024-25 city budget to Albemarle City Council at the May 6 meeting.

“I’m happy to report that the city will meet all its financial responsibilities for the current budget cycle, and we anticipate closing the fiscal year in a strong financial position with sufficient fund balances across all funds,” Rhodes said in opening before moving into details of the budget proposal.

The 2024-25 budget proposal does not include a property tax increase, keeping the current rate of 61 cents per $100 valuation.

The general fund budget is projected to be $20,801,087

“This represents a slight decrease from the current year general fund budget,” Rhodes stated, noting key general fund expenditures as:

• A plan to determine city staffing needs over the next five years.

• Addition of three positions (one full-time and two part-time) in the Solid Waste Division.

• Purchase of protective gear for police.

• Improvements at various parks and completion of a parks and recreation master plan.

• Enhanced NEOGOV (Public Sector Human Resources Software) to expand staff training and professional development opportunities.

• A five-year plan for street maintenance and improvements.

• Marketing expansion for the Albemarle Business Center.
Capital Improvement Plan spending will include resurfacing of the Rock Creek Park pickleball courts, purchase of three police cruisers, matching funds for an NC Commerce grant for a streetscape project at Five Points, replacement of a network server, the second phase of HVAC replacement at City Hall and street maintenance and improvements.

“The $1.3 million allocated for street maintenance and improvements marks the city’s most substantial investment ever in this area,” said Rhodes, adding that this was the top area for improvement identified in a recent community survey, as well as a primary goal set by City Council.

Water rates will remain the same, with a fixed $2.90 monthly sewer rate. Electric rates will include a wholesale rate decrease, meaning the average residential and small business consumer will see a decrease of approximately 1%.

For employees, a 2% cost of living adjustment to salaries will be implemented, with merit pay increases being funded for employees whose performance evaluations justify such.

In closing, Rhodes thanked city staff for their work in crafting departmental budgets, with particular recognition going to Finance Director Jacob Weil in guiding development of the proposal.

City Council will conduct budget workshops on May 14 and May 16, with a public hearing on the budget set for the board’s regular meeting on June 3.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.