Water, sewer hikes now part of Havelock budget

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 06:22 PM.

Havelock commissioners held fast to their pledge not to raise property taxes, but the result may be an increase in water and sewer rates, trash fees and a loss of employee positions.

After receiving instructions from the board last week to rework the 2013-14 budget, Finance Director Lee Tillman presented the proposal to the board during a meeting Monday at Havelock City Hall.

The proposed $15.6 million spending plan leaves the property tax rate at 46.5 cents per $100 in property value but does include a 1.7 percent Consumer Price Index increase on water and sewer rates that will mean an average increase of $1.25 per month per household. The cost of trash pickup would increase 55 cents per month from $13.95 to $14.50, less than the $16.77 originally proposed.

Commissioners agreed to cut the public information officer position from 40 hours per week to 24 hours and eliminate a senior planner position in the city’s planning department. The group considered but held back on cutting a recreation maintenance position.

The city also plans changes to collection of yard debris as well as old furniture and appliances.

Public services director Bill Ebron said time and money could be saved on the estimated 1,500 stops city trucks make at residences in a given month if residents simply made their yard waste neater along the road.

“We would require that it would be placed in an acceptable manner, all in one direction,” he said. “It’s amazing what we go get in trying to pick it up. It amounts to a lot of time trying to pull things apart. It’s like dealing with hard crabs. Everything connects up. They are pulling it all over the street. You’re adding time to the whole thing, so you get into labor impact, fuel costs for the whole time that truck is running, so it does add up.”

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