Saturday, June 22, 2024

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More spending, but steady tax rate, proposed for new Gibsonville town budget

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Gibsonville town manager Ben Baxley has proposed a $15 million budget for the upcoming 2024-25 fiscal year, which, if adopted, would represent a 3.4 percent increase above the town’s funding levels for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

Gibsonville town manager Ben Baxley

Gibsonville’s municipal tax rate would remain unchanged at 49 cents per $100 of valuation.

General fund spending accounts for $11 million of the total proposed budget; Baxley is also recommending $3.9 million in spending for the water and sewer fund for 2024-25.

Property tax and sales tax revenue account for most of the revenue (about $5.5 million) in the general fund, while sanitation fees, utility franchise and motor vehicle taxes round out the remainder needed to balance that portion of the recommended budget.

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Baxley has also proposed allocating $455,562 in fund balance (i.e., “rainy-day savings”) to purchase three vehicles and equipment; complete a capital project; and fund a portion of the town’s operations that are supported by the general fund.

The manager’s proposed budget also calls for hiring three new employees: one each in the police department, fire department, and sanitation department.

The three new full-time positions are estimated to cost $218,287, including salary, benefits, and equipment, for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.

Baxley is also proposing merit increases of up to 3 percent for qualified employees and a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment across-the-board for all employees.

The only sticking point during the board’s discussion Monday night was a recommendation to increase a fee for tampering with water meters.

Several aldermen suggested increasing the penalty to $500, which aldermen Bryant Crisp, Irene Fanelli, and Mark Shepherd indicated that they support.

Public works staff said $500 was the highest fine for water meter tampering that they had found in other municipalities and tried to offer some middle ground, but aldermen pressed for the $500 fine as the penalty for tampering with a water meter.

Baxley is also recommending an increase of 5 percent in water and sewer rates, due to an increase in costs passed along by the city of Burlington, which supplies those services to the town.

Baxley’s recommended budget calls for a raft of fee increases, including:

  • Sanitation fee increase of $2 per month, from $11 to $13/month;
  • Garbage and recycling cart fee (for an additional cart) increases of $1 per month, from $4 to $5/month;
  • Variance fee increase of $50, from $200 to $250;
  • Rezoning fee increase of $300, from $200 to $500;
  • Special use fee increase of $50, from $200 to $250.

The most significant big-ticket purchases within the general fund include a recommendation to purchase a new garbage truck ($380,000), which would be funded through loan proceeds and would be ordered in mid-2025, with delivery projected for early 2027, based on Baxley’s proposed budget.

The manager is also recommending the town purchase a boom truck ($220,000) that would also be funded through loan proceeds; three police vehicles ($195,000); and fire extrication equipment ($60,000), based the spending recommendations that the aldermen previewed Monday night.

Gibsonville aldermen are scheduled to hold a special meeting today at 4:30 p.m. to continue discussing the recommended budget, prior to setting a public hearing on either June 3 or June 17.

Gibsonville’s board of aldermen: (from left) Irene Fanelli, Paul Dean, Mark Shepherd, mayor Lenny Williams, Bryant Crisp, and Tangela Mitchell.

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