Likely compromise struck for Huntersville budget
by Staff Writer
by Josh Lanier
HUNTERSVILLE – Commissioners came to likely compromise Monday, May 23, which will translate to a small increase in the average Huntersville tax bill but would spare some cuts to town services.
Commissioners cast informal votes during a budget discussion to lower the tax rate from 28.5 cents to 28.25 cents. But that decrease is not enough, however, to counter the effect of countywide property revaluation, in which the average Huntersville property owner is seeing assessed value increase. The bottom line: the average tax bill will see a small increase.
The tax uptick would mean about a $15 increase next year in the tax bill of a home valued at $200,000.
Commissioners expect to take an official vote on the 2011-12 budget at their June 6 board meeting.
All departments, excluding the police and fire departments, will see some cuts in this budget, although far less drastic than previously discussed.
The board’s decision leaves money for:
• Two new Public Works Department employees.
• All scheduled sidewalks projects.
• All items requested by Huntersville Police Department will remain in the budget, including the town’s share of the cost of a victim’s advocate.
• Increases requested by the fire department.
• Gives the Parks and Recreation Department $40,000 to make repairs to parks, facilities and equipment. The department had requested $93,500.
• Reduces by $7,500 the town’s allocation to the Arts and Science Council.
• Increases the town’s contribution to the Ada Jenkins Center to $10,000, from $5,000.
Expected cuts include:
• iPads and software for elected officials to defray paper printing costs.
• A extra computer for the finance and administration staff.
• A study of traffic wrecks throughout the town to assist in planning and policing and an intern to help coordinate a pedestrian study.
In all, officials cut $138,300 from the budget to lower the tax rate.