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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

20140520 - Hickory City Manager's Proposed Budget 2014-15

City Manager Mick Berry proposed a $95.8 million budget for the upcoming fis­cal year. This is a 5.75% increase over last year’s $90.3 million bud­get. A 2¢ property tax rate increase is proposed bringing the rate to 52¢ per $100 assessment. This is the first tax rate increase in 19 years. The rate increase is attributable to road resurfacing issues and operational increase due to loss of "Hold Harmless" ($255,000) revenues coming from the State government.

There is very little natural growth in Hickory City Revenues, which is sales tax revenue and property tax base. This will cost the average homeowner ($151,000) a little over an extra $2.50 per month. May have to utilize the General Fund Balance for Operating Expenses in the upcoming year. $1.4 million General Fund balance has $900,000 designated for capital replacement. You may need the $500,000 left over for operational expenditures.

The Inspiring Spaces initiative was not included in the budget.

1 comment:

Harry Hipps said...

The thing I like about this budget is that is clean and keeps the Perspiring Spaces potential spending as a separate issue. This budget has a small tax increase which is prudent to do the needed street repairs and pay for costs without dipping into fund reserves.

The tax increase is unfortunate only because the tax base is not growing and this is something we can't change by the City budget. And I don't think the proposed projects will add to economic growth.

Thom's comment was right on that the sidewalk to downtown should be funded by a bid tax on businesses in the area to benefit (if there is a real benefit). Now is not the time to be loading up on debt, especially with the way the farmer's market survey was ignored, the pools survey was ignored. the Wayfinding project cost a lot of money just to get a logo and hasn't been used for anything else, the Sails had huge cost overruns (over double the estimated cost), and the Sails process was a mess.

Given the track record on projects like this we'd better think long and hard, and have some idea about what specifically will be done, in what timetable and with what accountability we'll have before handing over a multimillion dollar bond to the City. I want to see some hard proof that economic prosperity will be forthcoming before I'd gamble away money we don't have.