The City of Statesville is experiencing record residential and industrial growth, and that growth is reflected throughout the city’s proposed 2023-2024 budget.

“This past year was influenced by significant growth in Statesville,” City Manager Ron Smith said during his budget presentation at Monday’s city council meeting. “It was also influenced by the countywide reappraisal process and continued high inflation.”

The proposed spending plan includes a large cost-of-living increase for city employees and funding for 10 new positions.

What it does not include is a reduction in the city’s property tax rate.

The city manager proposed holding the tax rate at 54.78 cents per $100 valuation. That rate, which the council has held steady since fiscal year 2020, would result in a large increase in tax revenues for the city because of the surge in property values.

The revenue neutral rate — which is the rate that would generate the same amount of tax revenue as the previous year — is 41.47 cents per $100 valuation.

“I am not recommending coming back down on our tax rate because coupled with our tremendous growth are equally tremendous needs and I recommend maintaining the current rate to assist in preparing for the future,” Smith explained.

The proposed General Fund budget for 2023-2024 is $55,513,202, which is an increase of $3,232,462, or 6.18 percent over the current budget.

The city’s projected property tax revenues of $25,645,600 are based on an estimated tax base of  $4.7 billion, which represents an increase of $1.17 billion over 2023.

In the proposed budget, Smith has earmarked millions for employee raises and new positions.

The spending plan includes an 8 percent cost-of living-increase for all employees, which would cost $2.2 million to implement.

“Recruitment and retention of employees remains a priority,” Smith explained. “Our public safety departments are front and center in the effort to maintain competitive market pay. Competition with our neighbors is fierce when it comes to attracting and keeping employees.”

The proposed budget also includes funding for 10 new positions, including sanitation, police and fire positions as well as planning and human resources positions.

Many of the positions are necessary, Smith said, because of the record growth the city experiencing.

“The sanitation equipment operator position is an example of a position added due to the growth we are seeing in the city,” he said. “We will need an operator for the new sanitation vehicle we are proposing to accommodate added routes that have been added.”

The proposed budget also eliminates the much-debated solid waste fee, which leaves a fund deficit of $610,000. That loss of revenue will be offset by revenue generated through the property revaluation, Smith said.

There was no discussion from council on the proposed budget. The council will hold a public hearing on June 5, followed by budget sessions on June 6-8.

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