Hear presentations on budget, capital improvement
DAVIDSON – Based on preliminary data, Davidson’s budget for the year is looking better than expected, Finance Director Eric Hardy told the board Tuesday night, Jan. 25.
Hardy presented a summary and update on fiscal year 2011 to the Board of Commissioners in preparation for the board’s retreat Friday, Jan. 28.
“We’ve budgeted conservatively,” Hardy said, “and we’re looking better that we would have expected six months ago.”
The town estimated $8.4 million in revenue for the year, but the total tax revenue is expected to be about $8.6 million.
Hardy’s presentation provided information on the year’s budget as the town prepares to draft the budget for fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1.
Mecklenburg County is updating the property valuations, which will affect the town’s property tax revenue.
Property taxes are about 55 percent of the town’s revenue in this budget cycle, while sales tax accounts for about 11 percent.
“Sales tax is probably the most volatile,” Hardy told the board. According to his estimations, if sales stay on track, the town will bring in more money from sales taxes than expected in 2010.
But while the town’s outlook is brighter than expected, the state is facing a $3.7 billion budget gap, according to reports from the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division. Davidson also is saddled with a large debt service for its share in the purchase of telecommunication company MI-Connection.
About 20 percent of Davidson’s budget depends on the state’s decisions, including the 11 percent from sales taxes.
“We know about the rumblings from that level of government,” Hardy said.
According to Hardy’s presentation, the state delayed distributing sales tax in 2002 and held a portion of the revenue from beer and wine taxes last year. If the need were great enough, the state could withhold the entire 20 percent.
“There’s no precedent for it all being withheld,” Town Manager Leamon Brice told the board Tuesday night. “I find it hard to believe that they’d take it all.”
Mecklenburg County’s upcoming budget planning will also affect how Davidson drafts its final 2012 budget.
A little more than 3 percent of the town’s budget is dependent on the county, including an $87,500 contribution for the volunteer fire department.
Despite calling the state and county budgets “looming threats,” Hardy said this cycle is looking strong. “It’s very encouraging.”
Other board news
At the meeting Tuesday night, the Davidson board also:
• Discussed North Mecklenburg’s need for a victim’s advocate with Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, Mooresville-Lake Norman region director for United Family Services, and County Commissioner Karen Bentley. Firmin-Sellers and Bentley gave an updated presentation on the role a victim’s advocate would hold in the region.
• Heard a presentation from Town Manager Leamon Brice, summarizing results of past citizen surveys and highlight issues that have remained important as far back as 1993. Brice said he wanted to inform commissioners about the town’s ongoing goals leading into budget planning.
• Modified the Municipal Code so that mixing building materials on a street or sidewalk no longer requires a permit. The town also modified its noise and parking ordinances.
• Accepted Chairman Blake Lane for street maintenance.
• Modified the personnel policy to increase the amount of employee information that is public record.