Locust receives proposed budget

Published 9:57 am Monday, May 13, 2024

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Locust City Manager Cesar Correa presented the proposed city budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year at the May 9 council meeting.

“The budget is 99% complete,” Correa said, adding that certain items such as liability insurance could change before final adoption, which could occur as early as the June 13 council meeting following a scheduled public hearing.

The budget, which balances revenues and expenses of approximately $6.2 million, lists a general fund figure of $4,739,000, with wastewater funds accounting for the remaining $1,960,000, and requires no increase in the town’s tax rate of 36 cents per $100 valuation.

“We have maintained this same tax rate for the past 22 years,” Correa noted.

Other highlights presented include a 10% decrease in sewer fees, elimination of the town’s vehicle registration fee and no appropriations of fund balance required to balance the budget.

One challenge in formulating the budget was dealing with the fact that the city straddles the Stanly County-Cabarrus County line, with approximately 17.5% of the city’s tax base coming from Cabarrus-side residences and businesses.

“Cabarrus is undergoing tax revaluation this year,” said Correa, “which requires us to conduct a tax revenue-neutral calculation. We would first determine the current year tax levy, then determine the tax rate that would provide equal revenue at the new tax rate. We would then determine our growth rate since the last revaluation, and adjust our tax rate based on that.”

Correa estimates that the revenue-neutral tax rate will end up in the 28 to 32 cents per $100 range once Cabarrus determines its valuation.

“And Stanly County will be revaluating next year,” he added.
General fund revenues, generated primarily by taxes, licenses and fees, are appropriated to General Government ($787,000), Central Services ($81,750), Public Safety ($1,958,000), Public Works ($527,450), Streets ($308,100), Environmental Protection ($500,000), Economic Development ($1,000) and Parks and Recreation ($575,700).

Wastewater fund revenues are generated primarily by user fees, tap fees and availability fees, and are appropriated to Administration ($311,600), and Collection and Treatment ($1,154,400).

Capital projects and purchases include new trucks for the police and public works departments, body and dash cams for police, an update to the city’s land use plan, additional Christmas decorations and purchase of digital message boards.

The Council unanimously voted to set a public hearing on the budget for June 13 at 7 p.m.

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