Today, Salisbury City Council voted to approve the fiscal year July 1, 2018- June 30, 2019 (FY19) budget.
The $84,927,408 balanced budget reflects a 1.4% increase in spending from the FY18 adopted budget. City Manager W. Lane Bailey recommended the adopted one-cent tax increase for homeowners to maintain existing services at current levels. The one-cent tax increase equates to an average, additional $13.55 for homeowners with a median home value of $135,500 in Salisbury.
The FY19 budget highlights include:
- $250,000 Newsome Road Extension (reimbursable from Transportation Improvement Funds by 2019/2020)
- $350,000 Enterprise Resource Planning Software
- $400,000 Housing Stabilization and Revitalization Plan
- $350,000 Bell Tower Green Park
- $361, 500 Roof and HVAC replacements
- $400,000 Fire Station Construction (to be reimbursed with future debt)
- $850,000 Quint Fire Truck
- $24,240 Additional Police Vehicle
A recommended 2.15% water and sewer increase based on the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers for the South Region (CPI-U). The increase equates to an additional $1.45 per month (or less than $0.05 per day) for customers using 5,000 gallons. Increased funding was approved for water and wastewater rehabilitation projects. Several larger Capital Improvement Plan projects were also funded including the Grant Creek pump station and screenings project - infrastructure designed to move partially-treated wastewater from a lower to a higher elevation for further treatment.
Stormwater fees were also revised to provide a more equitable distribution between residential and non-residential customers. Residential customers should see a slight reduction in their stormwater bills as the Equivalent Residential Unit rate (ERU) adjusts for commercial properties with larger areas of pavement surfaces. The new structure is expected to provide funding for several projects needed to reduce flooding and pollution in Salisbury.
“This has been a difficult year financially with little growth in property taxes but we have a strong budgeting process in place,” said City Manager W. Lane Bailey. “There are positive outlooks on our horizon including the recent approval of the lease of our broadband utility to Hotwire Communications. We are happy to have a budget that will aid in advancing the City’s goals and maintain our strong commitment to public safety and core municipal services.”
The budget also included a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of 1.8% for all employees, and a 1.2% average merit increase to compensate employees at rates that reflect inflation, while establishing a merit system to recognize outstanding service and retain high-quality employees.
A public hearing on the budget was held Tuesday, June 5 at City Hall, where residents were able to voice their opinions prior to the Council vote today.