No tax hike; revenue increases coming from fees

Posted 6/7/19

PITTSBORO — The Town of Pittsboro’s 2019-20 municipal budget doesn’t call for a property tax increase, but forecasts a 4.8 percent increase in revenue from fee increases, including a 2.5 …

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No tax hike; revenue increases coming from fees

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Posted

PITTSBORO — The Town of Pittsboro’s 2019-20 municipal budget doesn’t call for a property tax increase, but forecasts a 4.8 percent increase in revenue from fee increases, including a 2.5 percent increase in water and sewer rates and new and increased planning fees for certain requests to “recoup the cost of the time spent for each item,” according to Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck’s budget message released with the budget.

Some of the increased rates and fees include:

• Residential customers will find an annual increase of $20 to their tax bills for trash services. Commercial users and out-of-town rates will also increase. According to the budget message, the increase in solid waste recycling and disposal is related to increasing recycling costs “due to challenging market conditions.”

• Water and sewer rates will increase by 2.5 percent. For residential customers, the increases will amount to about 30 cents per month for both water and sewer. Usage rates will also increase about 10 cents. Rates for out-of-town residents will see a slightly larger increase.

• Increased rates and new fees have been added for activities regarding planning. This include an increase for conditional use rezoning from $450 to $825. There is also a new fee for review of signage under Chatham Park’s master plan at a rate of $500, as well as new rates for flood plain development permits ($200) and amendments to subdivision developments.

Increased revenues will be used to provide a 2.5 percent raise for town employees and board members. Employee benefit packages will also grow with retirement contributions increasing by 1.2 percent and health care costs increasing by 7 percent. There are also line items in the budget for fees for third-party consultants for the engineering department as well as an additional position in the planning department to keep pace with plan development and review.

The Pittsboro Police Department budget will also include a line item for providing law enforcement at town “special events” totaling $30,000. There are also anticipated expenditures for a replacement utility truck shared with the planning and parks and recreation departments. The utility department is also requesting two utility trucks and a replacement dump truck. The fleet replacements are estimated to cost $165,000.

The town’s budget also reflects two different water and wastewater “system development fees” at $200,000 each. These are charges for future water and wastewater system capacity by Chatham Park. Those funds are allocated to the to the capital reserve budget for future improvements to the water and wastewater systems.

The board held a public hearing on Tuesday, May 28, on its proposed budget for the upcoming year. While introducing the public hearing, Pittsboro Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck noted that the board should wait to ask in depth questions until its next meeting as Heather Meacham, the town’s finance director, was out of town. The public hearing did not include a presentation of the budget nor did anyone sign up to speak during the public hearing. The board’s next scheduled meeting is 7 p.m. Monday at Pittsboro Town Hall.

Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.

Pittsboro, Budget

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