FROM STAFF REPORTS

Statesville City Manager Ron Smith has called for a nearly 10 percent increase in the city’s property tax rate and a 20 percent hike in water and sewer fees in the city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-2022.

“Growth is here and affecting operations,” Smith said in his annual budget message. “Although revenues are increasing, alone these cannot fund some of the necessary actions that have taken place, and the overall needs of the City.

“A tax rate increase, coupled with water and sewer rate increases is not ideal, but it is a significant step toward stabilizing our financial position,” he added. “Statesville weathered the pandemic much better than expected. We are standing strong based on development, sales tax activity, and developer’s bullish view of the City. This budget helps us to maintain our status, take care of our infrastructure, and provide the basic services to our residents.”

Smith unveiled the proposed budget during Monday’s City Council meeting.

If the plan is approved by the City Council, the city’s property tax rate would increase by more than 5 cents to 60 cents per $100 valuation. The budget also calls for the elimination of the annual $120 solid waste fee that residents pay.

Smith cited increases expenses tied to employee compensation and benefits and the necessity of funding several capital projects as driving forces behind the need to increase the city’s revenue stream.

Council members are expected to take a deeper dive into the spending plan when they meet with the city manager at noon on Monday in the Statesville Civic Center. The meeting is open to the public.

The public will have an opportunity to comment on the budget during the City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, May 17. 

The proposed budget for 2021-2022 calls for nearly $116 million in expenses, up sharply from $101.5 million in the current budget. The budget contains six different funds:

General Fund

The General Fund is used to pay operating expenses for departments that are not paid for by the other fund sources. For example, this fund pays for administrative salaries along with police and fire protection, planning and zoning, and parks and recreation.

The tax rate of 60 cents per $100 would generate more than $20.2 million for city coffers. The proposed property tax increase accounts for $1.7 million of this total.

The budget also relies on $8 million in local sales tax revenues, which is an increase of more than $2 million over the current budget.

Major Capital Expenses

The budget calls for pulling $6.7 million from the city’s reserves to fund construction of a new fire station ($5.7 million) and a dozen new police, fire and sanitation vehicles ($1 million).

New Positions

Department heads requested 24 new positions. The budget allocates funding for only five — two sanitation waste collectors, an assistant information technology director, a code enforcement officer, and a skilled laborer in public grounds.

Water & Sewer Fees

“The City’s rates are significantly lower than our peers, and much of the State,” Smith said in the budget message. “Although drastic, a rate increase of 20% is necessary to fill the gap.”

Based on a proposed 20 percent rate increase, water sales are estimated at $5,275,000 and sewer fees at $8,521,000.

Electric Utilities

No across the board rate hikes are proposed. This budget proposal includes almost $3,700,000 in capital funds for system improvement and expansion, up from $3,597,000 in the current budget.

Miscellaneous Expenses

The budget calls for spending $700,000 for a new roof for the Civic Center. Major capital projects and equipment paid for by the Stormwater Fund are budgeted at $715,000.

LEARN MORE

Read the City Manager’s Budget Message and the Proposed 2021-2022 Budget HERE.

18 thoughts on “Statesville city manager proposes nearly 10 percent property tax hike and 20 percent increase in water and sewer rates

  1. Beth Woods says:

    As a business owner, I certainly do not feel like this is the time to pile more onto us! My power and utilities are so high now … combined, almost as much as my building lease. As a business owner, I have to prioritize what is important and what I have to take care of at the current time. A lot of the things mentioned in the budget could wait! The only thing I feel to be adequate in this budget is anything our Police Department needs so that they can properly protect the citizens of our town. Crime is rising and we need our police. The rest can wait until a more suitable time. Eventually if things stay the way they are going, many things in this budget won’t matter because all of the businesses will be closed and the city will be a ghost town! There are empty buildings sitting all over town.

    • Raymond Massey says:

      I so agree. With all going on in the world and the planned-demic, a white house that hates Americans how can we continue to pay more, more, more? My taxes are killing me already, will I ever be able to retire if they continue to raise rates and fees and taxes? Statesville needs to hunker down and get the fees from developers and builders for infrastructure, not the little guys always like they seem to do. Kindly understand sir, we are stretched thin, groceries are outrageous, pay has not kept up with the daily costs to live, gasoline up yet again? Good Lord we must stop the spending and sit it out a bit; the common folk need a rest.

  2. Why the increases, first try collecting 100 % what folks owe the City. It seems pointless when people are falling short on their bills as it is. The city offering delayed payments for tough times, but yet you are wanting to raise rates. May want to reduce some tax incentive deals for new projects. The solid waste fee was a terrible idea to begin with so that’s good it’s on the table to be removed. 20% hike for the water and sewer would much better be served to make up the deficit in two years instead of one perhaps with 10% this year and 10% next year.
    Downtown is looking great and appears to the focal point of Ststesville, but let’s go East on Broad Street and fix the water issue and sidewalk in front of the tennis courts that has been with barricades for a year now. While we are headed East let’s work on a plan for some additional sidewalks from 1-77 East on Broad Street past the eyesore Newtown Plaza and Mall headed towards the SCC which is also in the city limits. People have no where to walk or use motorized wheelchairs accept in the streets which is very dangerous.
    Let’s fix the potholes in the road between Piedmont Healthcare Comprehensive Digestive Care and Cozumel Mexican Restaurant. off Signal Hill Drive instead of dumping stone in the holes that gets displaced in no time.

  3. Jt Gibson says:

    As I homeowner, I think this tax hike is too much, too quickly. Why not a modest increase to see us through the affects of Covid, then reevaluate in a couple years. Statesville needs so much, managers need to see the poverty, overgrown and empty buildings. Charlotte is eating Troutman, it’s at Statesville’s back door and that door opens to the Southside. Not a pretty entrance! Clean up, fix up and give your taxpayers a city to be proud of instead of adding to our burden. Thanks for your time.

  4. Apparently you have been partaking in a substance which is not legal yet in NC. This city will look like a ghost town with this type of increases all at once.

  5. Dr. Joseph Glasgow says:

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with this projected tax hike. We continue to wrestle with the covid-19 pandemic during the lock-down; In addition, let’s be candid, with herd immunity lurking in a distant future, and whereas economic uncertainty persists at an all-time high, and our tax burden continues to compound our citizens’ everyday life. Our citizens have been taxed and overtaxed. We need to find other revenue sources by being more innovative.
    Alternatively, this city manager/administration has not only come out with a decision to hike taxes (10 percent property tax hike and 20 percent increase in water and sewer rates) without considering its adverse effect on the citizens’ and our local economy. We must operate our city as if it were a (private sector) business, leverage resources, reduce redundancies, and focus on essential services (first responders), which will in turn reduce costs and create a sustainable foundation to serve the people of Statesville for now and years to come.

  6. The meeting is open to the public. Don’t just be keyboard warriors; show up. Let your voices be heard!!!

  7. Reginald Donovan Devenchi Priest says:

    As a homeowner I don’t like the property tax hike too much.

  8. Esperanza says:

    This is too much too soon. We’re already struggling, and juggling. I hope other board members spoke up against this, as we will on Monday.

  9. Ricky Darnell says:

    We have already gotten a property tax hike through increased evaluation of our homes! If you tax people to death you will suffer the consequences. Reevaluate. Live within your means. If you keep Statesville an inviting place (read reasonable taxes), then the city will grow and reward you with more revenue taxes. If you raise taxes, you will lose on the other end.

  10. Sam Phillips says:

    As a senior citizen on a fixed income, I think this proposed increase will just add to the rapid inflation we are already experiencing such as cost of medical care, pharmaceuticals, groceries, and fuel — the list goes on! Why is it that government always looks first at tax increases to make up for budget deficits? A large percentage of these deficits are due to mismanagement, oversights and good ol’ fashion “pork barrell politics.”

    Property values are going up, which is a good thing. The downside is that with it, property taxes are also going up. I hate to see our next tax statement when it reflects these value increases? Your proposed increase will be on top of that!

    Hopefully, if you insist on moving forward with this insane proposal, the city will offer a transparent open door policy with its citizens. I cannot fathom a worse time for you to consider an additional burden on your citizens after what we have all been going through these last thirteen months? Don’t expect the citizens of Statesville to go “gentle into the good nignt” over this increase.

  11. If they need more revenue for city budgets, they can try to recruit more large retail businesses in the General crossroads Shopping area … we have seen more large chain stores leave Statesville as the growth continues in the Mooresville area, Costco, Sams, Target and others that continue to locate there… now with a search for workers many out of county residents are taking local jobs in Statesville and pay sales taxes to their home cities…
    It’s time to put on the big boys pants and get an outlet center or other point of interest here with all the major interstate improvements to get out of town shoppers to stop here instead of just a cup of Starbucks… this town is letting a lot of cars with shopping dollars pass thru statesville, with just a comment only on just how pretty the flowers are..

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