By Charity L. Cohen
Special to The Alamance News
Gibsonville town manager Ben Baxley has unveiled a proposed budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year that includes a significant property tax increase – 18 percent above the “revenue neutral” level that state law requires to be provided for comparison in a year of property revaluation.
Gibsonville’s current property tax rate is 53 cents per $100 valuation.
Baxley proposes to establish a new rate of 49 cents per $100 of valuation, 7.52 cents above what he acknowledges to be the revenue neutral rate of 41.48 cents per $100.
Baxley’s nearly 18 percent increase appears to be the third-highest locally, behind Burlington’s proposed increase of 21.29 percent and Graham’s proposed increase of 20.73 percent.
Alamance County saw an average 79.4 percent increase in the overall value of the taxable real property as determined by their January real property revaluation. Baxley said that Gibsonville was given a figure of a 73 percent increase by the county tax administrator, which he said accounts for appeals.
As a result, Gibsonville taxpayers who live within the Alamance County lines will likely experience an increase in property taxes based on their property assessments from the revaluation.
Baxley’s nearly 18 percent increase in the tax rate, above revenue neutral, appears to be the third-highest locally, behind Burlington’s proposed increase of 21.29 percent and Graham’s proposed increase of 20.73 percent.
Although the recommended tax rate is still 7.52 cents higher than the revenue-neutral rate, it is 4 cents less than last year’s tax rate, Baxley told the aldermen during his presentation.
In addition to this increase in property taxes, Gibsonville residents who use water and sewer from the city of Burlington will also see an increase in rates.
The 5 percent increase in the town’s water and sewer rates will be used to cover the five-percent increase in the city of Burlington’s rates, Baxley said. His recommended budget would increase waters rates to 25 cents per 1,000 gallons for in-town customers and 50 cents per 1,000 gallons for out-of-town customers. Baxley has also recommended a 5 percent increase in sewer rates, to 63 cents per 1,000 gallons for in-town customers and $1.26/1,000 gallons for out-of-town customers.
Gibsonville’s overall budget would total $15.2 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1, based on Baxley’s recommendation.
The town manager estimates that Gibsonville’s total budget would decrease by $3.2 million or 17.3 percent from the current funding level of $18.4 million, based on his budget recommendation.
Big-ticket items include the proposed purchase of an $850,000 fire truck and a new $256,000 garbage truck, both of which would be funded by loans proceeds, Baxley said.
The town will also purchase two replacement police vehicles and an additional police vehicle for a new police officer. These purchases will be funded through the appropriated fund balance of $772,522. The appropriated fund balance will allocate money for other vehicle and equipment purchases as well as capital projects including construction, building renovations and expansion.
Baxley is also proposing to add several new positions: one police officer, one firefighter, one public works technician, and one parks and recreation employee.
Mayor disagrees with the proposed 2024 fiscal year budget
Mayor Lenny Williams lamented that when he first joined the board, the tax rate was 64 cents. He insisted that the tax rate should be lower than 49 cents in order to ease the financial impact on Gibsonville taxpayers.
Some residents spoke last month to register their concerns about the manager’s recommended budget and their financial limitations. Williams directed Baxley to work to find ways to “save them [Gibsonville residents] money.”
Gibsonville’s board of aldermen is scheduled to discuss, and possibly vote on, Baxley’s recommended budget on June 20.