After a nearly four-hour discussion of various zoning requests, City Manager Ron Smith finally had the opportunity to unveil the proposed 2024-2025 budget during Monday’s Statesville City Council meeting.

The $178.4 million spending plan reflects a $14.3 million increase, or 8.7 percent, over the current budget.

General Fund expenditures, which are largely funded by property tax and sales tax revenues, are projected to increase by $18.9 million (or 33 percent) from $54.6 million to $72.8 million.

“There were several key factors that influenced the growth from last year’s budget,” Smith explained. “With the high residential growth we saw close to a 10 percent increase in ad valorem taxes, which are a direct result of that growth.”

The proposed budget is based on maintaining the property tax rate of 51.76 cents per $100 valuation. The city’s property tax base is estimated to increase by $323 million to $5.02 billion.

General Fund expenses include a one-time investment towards the creation of the Building Standards Department ($800,000) as well as the downtown parking deck construction ($3.2 million). A 3 percent cost of living increase for all city employees is included in the plan.

While electricity rates are unchanged, the proposed budget does include a 7 percent increase in water and sewer rates.

As a result of the increased revenue, the city has the money to purchase nine police vehicles, a garbage service truck, two leaf collection vehicles and a single-axle dump truck. Funding is also earmarked for greenway improvements and other parks and recreation improvements as well as beginning the process building a new fire station.

City coffers will also benefit from a reduction in wholesale electricity prices.

“We are looking at a $8.8 million rebate in our electrical fund, of which the majority of that money can be moved to the General Fund for use on the police expansion project,” Smith explained. 

The city manager is not recommending any proposed tax increase in the 2024-2025 budget.

Smith commended Statesville’s Chief Financial Officer Tim Carr for doing a great job working with department heads to get the budget completed.

“For the last four budgets we have seen four different CFOs,” Smith quipped. “But Tim jumped into this process and hit the ground running. He has done a tremendous job working with myself and department heads to get this put together.”

The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 20 at the next scheduled council meeting.

Council will also have another budget related work session sometime that week. The vote to adopt the budget will be on June 3 or June 17.

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