By Charity L. Cohen
Special to The Alamance News
The Gibsonville board of aldermen has unanimously voted to accept the 2024 fiscal year budget proposed by town manager Ben Baxley. The new fiscal year began on July 1.
The new budget totals $15.2 million and includes the purchase of a new fire truck, garbage truck, and police vehicles as well as four new public works positions–one police officer, one firefighter, one public works technician, and one parks and recreation employee. The new tax rate as established by Baxley is 49 cents per $100 of valuation, 7.52 cents above the revenue neutral rate of 41.48 cents per $100. It is, however, 4 cents less than the previous fiscal year’s tax rate of 53 cents per $100.
This budget was proposed by town manager Ben Baxley on May 15 and had been the center of discussion amongst the board since it was first proposed. Both the board and town residents asked Baxley to consider moving toward a revenue-neutral tax rate in order to offer relief to those affected by Alamance County’s 79.4 percent increase in real property value after the revaluation. However, Baxley found that a revenue-neutral tax rate would cause the town to lose close to $800,000 in revenue, eliminating the four new service positions, and the opportunity for staff raises.
During the June 20 special meeting where the budget was accepted, Mayor Lenny Williams –who has been a champion for a lower tax rate – said that he accepts the board’s decision, but will continue to challenge it.
Many of the board members hoped for a revenue-neutral rate but agreed that they wouldn’t want to sacrifice any of the town’s current services in order to reach that goal.