Board to hear from Havelock residents on proposed tax increase

Published: Friday, June 6, 2014 at 08:32 AM.

When they last met, Havelock commissioners appeared set to impose a two-cent property tax increase on residents in the 2014-15 budget.

Three out of the five board members said the increase was necessary to maintain services like animal control, maintain its fleet of police cars and replace a needed planning department position.

But since their last meeting, a new state law on business privilege license fee has been approved, meaning the loss of an estimated $20,000 in revenue for the city in 2014-15.

“It’s going to be pretty difficult to overcome,” Havelock Finance Director Lee Tillman said. “It just ties their hands even more. The board’s going to have to make some difficult decisions.”

Residents will get the chance to voice their opinions on the budget during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday at Havelock City Hall.

As currently proposed, the 2014-15 fiscal year budget increases the property tax rate from 46.5 cents per $100 in property value to 48.5 cents. The total budget is $16.9 million.

Commissioners are divided on the spending plan, with Jim Stuart, Karen Lewis and Brenda Wilson agreeing on the two-cent tax increase. Commissioner Danny Walsh has said he would support just a one-cent increase to save the city’s animal control program. Commissioner George Liner has said he opposes any increase in taxes but could be swayed.

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