COLUMBIA – Tyrrell County Commission adopted a modest 1-cent property tax increase Wednesday.
Before the commission discussed the budget Wednesday after the Chowan Herald’s press deadline, no tax increase was in the cards.
However, commissioners opted to approve a 1-cent tax increase to provide additional funds for drainage projects/assistance.
Thus, this country editor updated the web version of this story soon after the crack of dawn Thursday morning while sipping coffee, waves crashing in the distance at Nags Head.
When Tyrrell County Manager/Attorney David Clegg presented his budget message to the commission in May, he said there is very little growth in the tax base. This budget is based on a total county valuation of $391,382,265. It was $390,269,849 last year. Once cent of tax rate equals approximately $39,000.
This budget is in the amount of $7,672,016 in general funds ($7,489,334 last year) and $1,326,627 in utility funds ($1,294,027 last year). Clegg wrote the budget requires a tax rate of 94 cents. It complies with the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act and the Machinery Act.
The budget increases regular employee salaries by 5 percent at an estimated cost of $113,173. Local government retirement rates for general employees increased by 1.21%. Retirement rates for law enforcement increased 1.20% for an aggregate increase of $40,750.
Clegge wrote that employee health insurance has increased by 9% for a renewal with Blue Cross at an increase of $45,413. Property insurance has increased $9,000 in Utilities after an on-site appraisal. Flood insurance has increased by $25,100, a 19% increase, even though we have gone to higher deductible.
Republic Services increased by 3.3% which follows the Consumer Price Index, Clegg wrote. Tipping fees at East Carolina Environmental have increased by .66%which is $23,638. Using a collection rate of 87.5%, Clegg recommended an increase in the LCID fee to $43 ($8 increase) and a Solid Waste Fee increase to $240 ($15 increase). These rates leave the General Fund absorbing $28,000.
Capital cost includes an $8,000 exterior book drop for the Library, Clegg wrote. A vehicle is recommended for the Sheriff’s Department at $39,904 and a state surplus vehicle for Inspections is recommended at $15,000. Register of Deeds recordation service is $10,610.
Clegg said Building Inspection Department cost to the General Fund is $86,265.
Most departments are essentially unchanged from the prior year with annualized increases in fixed costs, Clegg wrote. MTW is fully funded at $50,980.
Requests for travel were cut by 50%. Requests for supplies were cut by 25%.
The fire department is budgeted at $115,600 for operations, $40,000 for equipment and $25,000 reserve.
The Library request is an increase of $6,037 which includes the book drop, Clegg said.
The Revaluation Fund reserve is funded at $10,300 and should be equally funded for the next four years, Clegg wrote.
As to the school system, Current Expense is unchanged at $567,595, and $25,000 for the Social Worker. Capital Expense is $100,000. Lottery fund draw down is zero since the school system is using those funds for the Needs Based Public School Building Capital Fund.
The Vector Control functions are budgeted at $13,758.
Interest income for county investments is at essentially zero, Clegg wrote. For the county, that means a loss of $25,000.00.
Clegg estimated sales tax receipt increase at 2.5% for a General Fund total of $552,489 and for the Schools at $396,843.
As to the enterprise fund, which is a separate budget for utility funds, Creswell has not increased its sewer treatment charge. There will be an increase in sewer rates of $1.50 in base charges and $3.25 in consumption charges to close the gap of STEP systems not connected to the treatment system.
Clegg wrote this increase also addresses the increase in treatment rates charged by Columbia for Alligator accounts. The water rates will be adjusted to increase 25 cents per consumption tier and the $1.80 ServePro service will be instituted and billed to deal with leakage insurance.