City Manager W. Lane Bailey has presented his proposed budget for the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) to Salisbury City Council.
The $83,514,922 balanced budget reflects a 2.6% increase in spending from the FY17 adopted budget. To fund this budget, City Council was asked to adopt a property tax rate of $0.03.76 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 proposed budget includes 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
- Two new positions in Code Enforcement and Fleet to address work load issues in those areas
There are also several large purchases budgeted from the Capital Replacement Fund:
- $1,302,885 Pumper Fire Truck
- $865,920 Platform Fire Truck
- $481,112 for 2 Swaploaders for Public Services
- $247,406 Automated Garbage Truck
Bailey also recommended a 2.6% 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 5,000 gallons, would be $68.31 (an increase of $1.71 or $0.06/day).
“We hope the proposed budget will allow us to increase our ability to provide quality customer service to the residents of Salisbury,” said City Manager Lane Bailey. “The proposed FY18 budget will strengthen recruitment efforts for the Salisbury Police Department with additional funding used to tackle the issue of crime within the community. The City of Salisbury is in forward momentum with our employees and elected officials dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of our wonderful municipality.”
The budget will also include 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. Traditionally, an average percentage is recommended to fund merit increases for employees. This change is an effort to compensate employees at rates that reflect inflation, while also establishing a true merit system to recognize outstanding service and retain high-quality employees.
City Council will hold special a budget work session on Wednesday, May 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers building (217 S. Main St.). At the session, City Council will have the opportunity to discuss details of the proposed budget with the city manager and agencies funded by the City. This meeting is open to the public.
In addition, City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget and consider its adoption at the Tuesday, June 6, meeting during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting at 5 p.m. Council must adopt a final budget by June 30.
The proposed budget can be found on the city website at http://www.salisburync.gov/Departments/FinancialServices/finance/Budget/2017-18%20Recommended%20Budget.pdf