Havelock starts budget process amid sequestration concerns

Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 07:19 PM.

As Havelock city staff begins preparations for the 2013-14 budget, uncertainty about the area economy in light of sequestration and federal budget cuts has prompted major concerns.

"I cannot remember a time in my career with the city that I was as worried that the local economy would suffer substantially more than the state economy," said Lee Tillman, city finance director. "I just feel like with the large population inside the gate that’s going to have a reduction in their income that we’re going to suffer worse. In some ways, we’re going to be double impacted because of Camp Lejeune and New River. There’s a large military presence right here and how that’s going to impact us, I’m very concerned."

Tillman said the staff is too early in budget preparations to say if a property tax rate increase is in store for resident or exactly what the total budget will be. City departments turned in budget requests last week, but the Board of Commissioners doesn’t begin budget talks with city staff until May 6. The budget must be passed by June 30.

Tillman said the impact of sequestration will be felt in the months ahead, but the Havelock Tourist and Event Center has already been affected.

"We know we had some clients who had to cancel because the training budgets had been reduced," Tillman said.

She said she is concerned that revenue from water and sewer fees could decrease as residents with less income make hard choices about their bills.

She also expects less in sales tax revenue, collected by the state and distributed to cities, with that impact hitting within about two months.

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