City Manager W. Lane Bailey has presented his proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021 (FY21) to the Salisbury City Council.
The $46,003,307 balanced General Fund budget reflects a 3.17% decrease in spending from the FY20 adopted budget due to expected shortages related to COVID-19. In addition to the General Fund, the Water/Sewer Fund, Transit Fund, Broadband Fund, and Stormwater Fund comprise the overall City budget totaling $82,528,220. This total sum also includes Special Revenue Funds (CDBG & HOME) and Capital Reserve Funds. Bailey proposes maintaining the current tax rate of $0.7196 for the fiscal year as to not burden the Salisbury community in the midst of economic challenges.
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 will 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 also 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 $0.034/day).
Other proposed fee increases include a $.94 increase in residential curbside collection sites with one waste container and one recycling container, and a proposed $.08 increase to stormwater fees to offset inflation. The stormwater fee increase also would provide 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. “We will not see the financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic for several months, but we know revenue will be impacted. We have tried to be conservative with our estimates in preparing the proposed budget. We were already facing challenges with expenditures outpacing revenues and projections, but we could not have anticipated a global pandemic.”
City Council will hold a special budget work session on Monday, June 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. via Zoom. At the session, City Council will have the opportunity to discuss details of the proposed budget with the city manager. This meeting is open to the public and Zoom details will be posted on the city’s website at www.salisburync.gov. The meeting can also be viewed via the City’s livestream at www.salisburync.gov/webcast or the City’s Twitter account at https://twitter.com/CitySalisburyNC.
In addition, City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget Tuesday, June 2, and consider its adoption at the Tuesday, June 16, meeting during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Council must adopt a final budget by June 30.
The proposed budget can be found on the city website at https://salisburync.gov/Portals/0/Documents/Financial Services/Budgets/FY2020-2021 Recommended Budget.pdf.