ROSEBORO — Residents in the western Sampson town can expect to see a drop in the amount they are currently paying for property taxes now that the new budget has been approved.
The budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 has been adopted and includes a tax decrease of 3 cents, from the current 69 cents per $100 assessed valuation.
The budget for the town of Roseboro was approved at just over $1.9 million, nearly $100,000 more than the previous year’s budget.
“I am very pleased that the board approved our 2017-18 budget ordinance,” Roseboro mayor Alice Butler said. “It includes a 3 cent decrease in property taxes which is a decrease of 4.35 percent from our current rate of 69 cents. For the last several years, it has been mine and the town board’s desire to reduce Roseboro’s tax rate while continuing to provide high quality services to our citizens. We have a great town, with everything you need in it, and we do not want our tax rate to keep someone from ‘taking root and blooming’ in Roseboro.”
According to the town’s budget, the general fund is in excellent financial condition with a current cash balance of $1.35 million.
“The general fund, which is the fund that is used for general operations of the town, is now in excellent financial condition,” Butler explained. “Our unreserved fund balance, or as I like to call it, our savings, is currently about $1.2 million.”
According to Butler, this savings account has increased nearly $1 million over the last five years, and during this time, the town has not had to cut any services that are afforded to the citizens.
“Instead, we have improved our streets, infrastructure, equipment and buildings,” Butler said. “Just this year, we have added new roofs to our library, old railroad depot, grandstand and our town hall. We purchased a dump truck, new service truck, and made needed improvements to water and sewer infrastructure — all without adding any debt to the town.”
With the recent resignation of town clerk Tony Blalock, Butler said the team of employees and board members have worked hard to develop a budget that serves in the best interest of the town and its citizens.
“Thankfully, we have a committed team of employees, board members, and community volunteers who work diligently to serve the citizens of Roseboro and continually improve the quality of living in our town,” Butler added.
The town held a public hearing during the June monthly meeting, and no comments for or against the proposed budget were made.
According to the town’s budget statement, operational costs are being met in part due to growing revenues from the state. The fund balance of $67,000 is used to balance the general fund budget, as revenues are conservatively estimated. However, this budget does not include any major equipment purchases or capital investment.
Water and sewer fund
The town of Roseboro has struggled in the past to build the water and sewer fund, but an increase in the sewer base rate should generate an additional $7,000, however the bulk of water sales for construction of the N.C. 24 bypass will be ending.
Contracted services are budgeted at $75,000 and capital outlay is budgeted at $30,000 to cover the costs for well No. 3 maintenance, sanding and painting the crane jib, installation of isolation valves and electrical repairs for the water system.
Funding for the town match of the AIA grant of $20,750 is included in the budget proposal. Projected utility revenues are $124,450 short of budgeted expenditures and the fund balance must budgeted to fill the gap. Without substantial growth in the water and sewer revenues, utility reserves will soon be depleted. According to the budget, the rates for customers are still not in line with escalating maintenance costs.
“This budget presentation is far from perfect and leaves unfunded many items needed for the town of Roseboro,” the budget statement reads.
The town has been investing in the depot building in downtown. New flooring, roof and windows have been installed at the town’ expense. These items were all necessary for safety and damage prevention. More improvements are budgeted for the 2017-18 year, but the current rent is expected to cover these and normal operating costs.
Revolving loan fund
According to the budget proposal, revenues from previous loan recipients are estimated at $23,462, with six active loans. The fund has over $100,000 available for additional loans.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.