Salisbury City Council approved the fiscal year 2020-2021 (FY21) budget as proposed by City Manager W. Lane Bailey.
The $45,644,918 balanced General Fund budget reflects a 4.08% decrease in spending from the FY20 adopted budget due to expected shortages related to COVID-19. City Council voted to maintain the current tax rate of $0.7196 for FY21 as to not burden the Salisbury community in the midst of economic challenges.
In addition to the General Fund, the Water/Sewer Fund, Transit Fund, Broadband Fund, and Stormwater Fund comprise the overall city budget totaling $82,139,831. This total sum also includes Special Revenue Funds (CDBG & HOME) and Capital Reserve Funds.
Deep cuts were made to departmental budgets, and approximately $1.25 million in one-time capital projects have been deferred this year. The city’s Capital Improvement Plan (major capital projects) will be discontinued until a later date, and the budget does not include a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) or merit pay for employees. In addition, Fire Station 3 construction will be delayed. Despite cuts to the budget, Bailey is not anticipating cuts to service for Salisbury residents.
Several large projects are included in the FY20-21 budget with four of the projects having grants or offsetting revenues. The projects without offsetting revenue will be delayed until there is funding to move forward. These large projects include:
$1,579,394 for bike lanes and sidewalks along Newsome Road
$125,000 for sidewalks and intersection improvements at Brenner Avenue
$250,000 for improvements to the Grants Creek Greenway
$200,000 for the Neighborhood Revitalization Program
$215,000 for the E. Fisher Street and N. Ellis Street Bridges
$199,192 for the Plaza Roof Replacement
$275,655 for the Hall Gym Roof Replacement
Staffing of the new Bell Tower Green Park
Bailey recommended a 1.83% water and sewer increase based on the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers for the South Region (CPI-U). An average monthly residential water and sewer utility bill, for a customer using 4,000 gallons, would be $59.43 (an increase of $1.02 or about 3.4 cents per day).
Other budget fee changes include a $.94 increase in residential curbside collection sites with one waste container and one recycling container, and an $.08 increase to stormwater fees to offset inflation. The stormwater fee increase also provides funds for stormwater projects to reduce flooding and pollution to maintain compliance with the existing NPDES permit.
“This has proven to be one of the most challenging budgets to prepare and with the impact of COVID-19, the challenge was certainly exacerbated,” said Bailey. “Now that the budget has been approved by City Council, city staff will continue to ensure that we are good stewards of resident tax dollars over the next fiscal year. I’m very proud of the city finance department for their hard work in preparation for tonight’s vote.”
The adopted FY21 budget can be found on the city website at https://salisburync.gov/Government/Finance/Budget
once the document is finalized.