Havelock commissioners have already rolled up their sleeves to create a balanced budget for next year. Now it’s time for residents to weigh in.
The Havelock Board of Commissioners has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed 2013-14 budget for 7 p.m. Monday at Havelock City Hall.
"The decision’s going to be made about how deep we get into their pockets because we’re going to set the tax rate for the year, and it’s based on that budget and the fees and charges for water, sewer and sanitation and all those things, and it’s nice to know and understand where the money actually goes," Havelock Mayor Jimmy Sanders said.
The city’s proposed $15.6 million spending plan keeps the property tax rate at 46.5 cents per $100 in valuation. But, the proposal calls for a 1.7 percent Consumer Price Index increase in water and sewer rates that will amount to an average increase of $1.25 per month for the typical household. The cost of trash pickup could go up from $13.95 to $14.50 per month.
"I’ve been doing it a long time and I would say that this year was the most difficult budget that we’ve had to deal with," Sanders said.
He said sales tax revenue is projected to be about $100,000 less than the previous year, which represents about one cent on the property tax rate. That led to tough decisions on how to balance the budget, he said, including city job cuts.
The budget calls for a reduction of the public information/grants position from 40 hours to 24 hours per week and the elimination of a planning department position.
"You never want to tell someone that they’re going to lose their job and we hate to do that," Sanders said.
Other changes city residents could see would be a decrease in the amount of trips city trucks make collecting old furniture and appliances. The collections would go from regular to an on-call basis. Residents may also be asked to bag loose leaves in their yards during the majority of the year to increase efficiency for public services workers.
Sanders said residents can voice their concerns or their support of the budget Monday night.
"That’s their option to do that and I would encourage them to come out Monday night," Sanders said. "Everybody needs to come out to the public hearing and voice their concerns."
The board must approve the budget by June 30.
Commissioners have called for the elimination of $5,000 in funding for the Havelock Appearance Commission, have cut $20,000 from the minimum housing program in the planning department, have canceled $10,000 in upgrades for an animal control truck and $12,000 in upgrades for a city ambulance, decided against $14,467 for the purchase of new recreation complex bleachers and passed on $75,000 in ditch clearing that would enhance drainage.
The board had considered funding $10,000 for new computers at the Havelock Library but cut that out as well. The budget does call for $30,000 for a new police patrol car and $105,103 for a new knuckle boom truck for public services.