Editorial: Havelock budget not off to a good start

Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 04:44 PM.

In football, a player jumping on a ball carrier after the whistle can get a penalty for piling on.

As Havelock city staff and commissioners enter the grunt work of forming the 2013-14 budget, the referee has his penalty flag in hand and is preparing to throw it.

The reason is simply. The proposed budget includes a property tax rate increase of 2 cents per $100 in property value. For a typical home in Havelock, that amounts to $27 more per year residents will have to pay the government.

We must say that the budget is only a proposal at this point, and nothing is final. Commissioners oppose the idea of a tax increase and will work with city staff during budget sessions — which are open to the public by the way — in an effort to hammer out the details of the city’s spending plan for the next fiscal year.

We do give city staff some credit. General expenses are down about $1.1 million in the proposal compared to the current fiscal year.

So why the tax increase?

According to city officials, the reasons are many. One of those is a lack of funding from the state for road maintenance. If you recall, the city started a five-year plan to improve streets and roads, with that money coming from the state’s Powell Bill Fund. Money for that fund comes from state gasoline taxes, which have been decreasing.

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