Cornelius looks at tax cut following revaluation
by Staff Writer
by Brian Carlton
CORNELIUS – Town Manager Anthony Roberts plans to recommend a 24-cent tax rate, when he delivers his budget in May.
“Right now, we’d be dropping it down from 25 (cents) to 24 (cents), depending on these numbers and how things change,” Roberts told commissioners during budget discussions April 2.
Some commissioners said the rate should drop to make up for the higher values of the recent property tax revaluation. This year, Cornelius brought in $2 million more than expected, due to the revaluation.
“I feel accountable for revenue neutrality,” Commissioner David Gilroy said. “We all know we missed (in 2012).”
Finance Director Jackie Huffman told the board Monday night that after the latest round of revaluation appeals, the town’s total assessed value only dropped 4 1/4 percent. That’s significantly lower than anticipated.
“We originally were thinking we’d see round numbers, (a) 20 percent decrease in assessed value in Cornelius,” Gilroy said. “(Now) it would be maybe four percent that’s clawed back.”
After all appeals wrap up, Huffman said she estimates the town will have a net increase of 18 percent in assessed value, due to the revaluation. With that in mind, Gilroy pointed out the board had supported a revenue-neutral tax rate last year. To achieve that in the upcoming budget season, Cornelius would need to drop the tax rate 18 percent from 25 cents to 20.5 cents.
Also changing in the budget is the cost of garbage service. The town had to add $40,000 since the last estimate of $53,000, due in part to the county’s new contract.
“What we’ve learned since the budget retreat is that tipping fees (will be) passed to us,” Roberts said. “What happens is every so often, as they re-negotiate those contracts, the tipping fees are passed on to the towns.”
Tipping fees are what customers, or in this case towns, are charged for using a landfill. As the trucks enter the site, they get weighed and charged per ton. For towns and counties, the price is set based on the contract with the garbage service.
“About $15,000 (of the addition) is tipping fee related,” Roberts said. “The rest relates to fuel costs.”
Starting at the next meeting, the commission will hold budget workshops before going into the regular session.
Want to go
The Cornelius Town Board will continue to discuss the town budget at their May meetings. The board meets at Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave. May 7 and 14, at 7 p.m. Budget discussions will include using 911 call center services with either Huntersville or Charlotte-Mecklenburg police; parks and recreation funding for sports fields; greenways; sidewalks; and the Smithville Community Center.
For more information on the town, meeting schedules, agendas and minutes, visit www.Cornelius.org.