Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Elon adopts new budget with property tax rate 14 percent above revenue neutral

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Elon’s town council has approved a new municipal budget that features a property tax rate roughly 14 percent higher than what the town needed to break even after the county’s latest property revaluation.

The new budget, which was adopted on Tuesday in a 5-to-0 vote, calls for nearly $10.3 million in outlays from the town’s general fund – a repository for various taxes and fees that bankrolls most of the municipality’s programs and services.

Among the new budget’s highlights are a variety of capital expenditures – with one particularly noteworthy outlay of $245,000 to develop a new stake park within the town’s municipal limits. The new budget also sets money aside to restore some of the town’s emergency vehicles, hire a new full-time firefighter, and provide the town’s staff members with pay raises worth an additional 5 percent on their annual salaries. In the meantime, it calls for greater expenditures from the town’s standalone water and sewer fund as well as 5-percent hike in utility fees to pay for the increase.

In order to make ends meet in the new fiscal year, Elon’s new budget contains a new property tax rate of 35 cents for every $100 of value – an increase of 4.34 cents, or about 14 percent, over the “revenue neutral” levy that would’ve offset the gains from Alamance County’s most recent property revaluation in January.

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The town’s new budget was ultimately adopted without out much discussion during a regularly regularly-scheduled meeting of Elon’s town council on Tuesday. This 5-to-0 vote came roughly a month after Elon’s town manager had unveiled this new spending plan to the council on the same day its members held a state-managed public hearing on the proposed budget.

Although the council heard nary a peep from the public during this hearing, it has received some favorable feedback about the proposed skatepark from residents who’ve spoken up during the public comment periods that kick off each of the council’s semimonthly meetings.

In response to this outpouring of public sentiment, Elon’s mayor Emily Sharpe announced that the town will continue to solicit input from the community as it moves forward with the skatepark’s development.

Elon mayor Emily Sharpe

“There has been quite a bit of interest in our planned skatepark,” Sharpe conceded after the budget’s passage on Tuesday. “So now that we have an approved budget, I’ve talked to [Elon’s town manager] Rich [Roedner] about having a committee to discuss that [project’s specifics].”

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