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Albemarle’s proposed budget reduces tax rate to 61 cents

Albemarle residents will see a tax decrease if the proposed city budget passes.

The 2021-2022 proposed annual city budget recommends the property tax rate be reduced to 61 cents per $100 valuation. It was 64 cents last year. 

City Manager Michael Ferris presented the proposed budget during Monday’s city council meeting.

The proposed budget totals roughly $76 million, which is about a 4 percent increase compared to last year’s budget of $70.5 million.

About $19.3 million will go towards the General Fund, almost 6 percent higher than the FY 20-21 adjusted budget. 

In his budget letter, Ferris wrote there will be a $75,000 increase in the General Fund share of the street preservation program and that provisions will be made to continue partnering with Retail Strategies to recruit new businesses to the city. Other funded projects include replacing the diving structures of both city pools, replacing weight equipment at E.E. Waddell Community Center and LED lighting conversion and window painting at the E.E. Waddell gym. The city also plans to replace the roof on the Niven Center and resurface the park road of Morehead Park. 

Operations of the fire and police departments account for 56 percent of the General Fund budget expenditures, followed by public works which accounts for 19 percent. The total cost of these two departments is $10.9 million, while the proposed property tax rate generates revenues totaling $6.9 million.

For the police department, the budget provides for three new police vehicles and the replacement of mobile data terminals, flashlights and tasers. For the fire department, the budget provides for three positive pressure fans, the purchase of a new frontline engine and the refurbishment of the existing ladder truck. An application has also been made to fund three additional full-time firefighters through the SAFER grant. 

The Water and Sewer Fund Budget is proposed at $12.4 million, almost 11 percent more than FY 20-21 adjusted budget. The proposed budget includes a 4 percent water and sewer rate increase.

Some of the projects include relocating a water line as part of the NCDOT Bethany Road bridge replacement, a possible expansion of the Jack F. Neel Water Treatment Plant and replacement of the Moss Springs Road water booster pump station. Previously approved projects have also been budgeted such as the sewer work on Sibley Street, Knollwood Circle and Kingsley Drive. 

The Electric Budget is proposed at $32.5 million, a 1.38 percent decrease from the FY 20-21 adjusted budget. One of the projects will be moving overhead electric lines underground at the intersection of South Second Street and West South Street/Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. 

The Solid Waste Disposal Fund is proposed at $4.4 million, a 49 increase from FY 20-21 adjusted budget. The budget provides funding for, among other things, the rebuilding of a compactor, the acquisition of a new dozer, repairs to the recycling facility and the addition of a heavy equipment mechanic.

Copies of the budget for public inspection will be available at City Hall, at the Albemarle Branch of the Stanly County Public Library, as well as on the City’s website.

A public hearing on the budget will be at 6:30 p.m. June 7. Budget workshops are set for 4 p.m. May 18-19 at City Hall. 

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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