At the June 6 meeting, Council held a public hearing on and adopted the FY18 budget. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
The $83,743,722 balanced budget reflects a 2.89% increase in spending from the FY17 adopted budget. To fund this budget, City Council was asked to adopt a property tax rate increase of $0.0376 cents. The proposed tax rate equals approximately $51 per year, or less than $1 per week, for the average homeowner in Salisbury. Two and one quarter cents ($624,250) of the increase will be used to raise Salisbury Police Department officers’ salaries, and the remaining 1.51 cents ($420,035) will fund the related public safety equipment.
The 2018 budget highlights include several large projects requiring an appropriation from the General Fund including:
- $675,000 for design services and land acquisition for Fire Stations 3 and 6 (reimbursable with future debt issuance).
- $850,000 Newsome Road Extension (reimbursable from Transportation Improvement Funds by 2019/2020)
- $329,300 Pre-Emption System for the Fire Department
- $392,994 Increase in Fibrant Transfer
- $10,000 to fund Art Mural Maintenance
- $39,000 increase in Rowan-Salisbury School System consulting services
- Two new positions in code enforcement and fleet to address work load issues in those areas
There are also several large purchases approved in the FY18 budget from the Capital Replacement Fund:
- $865,920 Pumper Fire Truck
- $1,302,885 Platform Fire Truck
- $481,112 for 2 Swaploaders for Public Services
- $247,406 Automated Garbage Truck
The budget also included a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of 1.5% for all employees, and a 1% average merit increase for employees whose evaluations reflect their commitment to exceptional service.
A recommended 2.60% water and sewer increase based on the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers for the South Region (CPI-U) was approved. An average monthly residential water and sewer utility bill, for a customer using 5,000 gallons, is anticipated to be $68.31 (an increase of $1.71 or $0.06/day).
“The budget process is perhaps one of the most important tasks we undertake each year as city,” said City Manager W. Lane Bailey. “This year we have budgeted for some important projects for Salisbury, including land for two new fire stations, new equipment to help our public services department function more efficiently and new two positions to help with work load issues. We’re excited for what’s to come over the next fiscal year for the city.”
A public budget work session took place on Wednesday, May 24, at City Hall.