The Newton Grove Board of Commissioners are moving forward with a budget of $1.1 million which includes a small increase in taxes.
It was approved Tuesday evening following a public hearing. The 2018-2019 fiscal year plan includes a 1 cent increase in property tax, which comes to 38 cents per every $100 for the valuation of property. The total valuation is $57.42 million. Property valuations are based on estimates from the Sampson County Tax Department. The county is slated for a revaluation in 2019.
Newton Grove’s budget also includes a fire tax rate of 7.5 cents, set by the county. The increase in taxes is expected to increase revenues by $5,000. In 2017, the board approved a 2 cent property tax increase, which provided an increase of $11,000.
General fund revenues and expenditures are $621,000 and some of the needs include government, police, fire department, streets, sanitation and parks. The water /sewer fund is $506,000. Newton Grove’s budget also includes a 50 cents increases in water and sewer fees for residential and institutional use and a $1 increase for the commercial user fees.
“We try to increase the rate a little bit each year,” said Amanda Turner, director of finance for Newton Grove. “You don’t want to go five years and then all of a sudden you have to add $5 to someone’s bill.”
Turner added that the town’s sewer system is getting older.
“We’re having more repairs and we want to make sure we cover the costs of the repairs,” she said.
Another highlight include a two percent increase in salaries for all full-time employees. The the total cost for administration and planning is more than $186,000, which makes up about 30 percent of the budget. Renovation plans for the Town Hall kitchen and floor will cost about $40,000. Other spending plans includes hiring an outside contractor for mowing and landscaping at Town Hall, the Library and the circle.
The Police Department will receive a $2,500 increase in salaries for officers. More than $230,000 (37 percent) will be spent to cover public safety and police needs — a decrease of more than $13,000 from the last budget. A request was made to spend $30,000 on a car, but was removed from the list.
The budget also includes more than $13,000 for the Bryan Memorial Library is more than $13,300 and $10,000 for the Beatification Committee, which received an increase of about $2,500 to replace welcome signs around Newton Grove.