Council adopts budget
The City Council on Monday unanimously adopted a new budget that will lower High Point’s property tax rate while raising utility rates and garbage-collection fees.
At $341.6 million, the 2014-15 spending plan, which takes effect July 1, is slightly smaller than the city's current $343.2 million budget.
The budget will decrease the city’s property tax rate from 67.5 cents to 66.4 cents per $100 of assessed value. That means the owner of a $100,000 house will pay $664 in 2014 city property taxes, down from $675 last year.
City electric, as well as water and sewer rates, will increase 1.8 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in the new budget, while the garbage fee will rise a net total of $2 per month.
Passage of the budget affirmed the controversial changes to the city’s redevelopment efforts that council had previously voted upon.
The new budget shifts the position currently held by City Project Executive Director Wendy Fuscoe into a yet-to-be-determined city department.
The move was necessary, according to council members who supported the change, to enhance revitalization throughout the city.
City Project board members and others have strongly objected to the change, arguing that it will derail efforts to improve the core city.
The new budget will provide pay raises for city employees of 1 to 3 percent, depending on merit. The cost of the raises is projected to be $1.165 million.
It includes funding for nine new positions, including a deputy city clerk, animal control officer and various positions in the electric, public services, transportation and parks and recreation departments.
The cost of the new positions is projected to be $484,019.
In fashioning the budget, council stuck closely to what City Manager Strib Boynton recommended, opting for a 1.1-cent tax rate decrease rather than the .8-cent reduction he proposed.
Among the other changes council made during the budget review process: Increasing the street resurfacing budget $400,000, decreasing the Human Relations Department travel budget from $25,000 to $12,500 and budgeting $130,393 for the Community Development & Housing director’s position, instead of using federal grant funds to pay the salary.