Proposed Kure Beach Budget Includes Property Tax And Rate Increases

Proposed Kure Beach Budget Includes Property Tax And Rate Increases

Proposed Kure Beach Budget Includes Property Tax And Rate Increases Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 23 May 2018 18:49

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

KURE BEACH - The Kure Beach Town Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2018-2019 fiscal year budget on June 5th, at 6:30 PM.

The proposed budget includes a property tax increase of 4.5 cents per $100 of value raising the current rate of 28.5 cents to 33.0 cents.

According to Finance Director Arlen Copenhaver, the impact on a homeowner with property valued at $350,000 would be and additional $157.50 per year. Under the current tax rate of $0.285, the bill would be $997.50. With the proposed increase of $0.045, the increase for a $350,000 home would equate to $157.50 for an annual tax bill of $1,155.00.

Property tax revenues are the Town's largest source of revenue and for fiscal year 2019, Copenhaver estimates the Town will collect $2,920,300.00. That includes both the current tax year and prior tax years' collections and represents 56.1% of the General Fund revenue.

The estimated tax base for Kure Beach is $891,663,00.00.

Historically, the Town has a collection rate of 99%.

Copenhaver explained in his budget message, "The primary reason for this tax rate change is to cover the debt service relating to the $5 million loan obtained in fiscal year 2018 for the construction of a new fire station and expansion/renovation of the Town Hall complex."

The budget proposal also raises rates for water, sewer, trash and recycling.

For garbage service, the monthly residential rate will increase by $1 from 6$ to $7 for the first cart and $2 per month from $12 to $14 for each additional cart.

The proposal also increases the monthly commercial garbage service by $4.28 per cart from $26.25 to $30.63.

Copenhaver explained the residential first cart and commercial rates have not changed in 5 years and the increase is necessary to cover associated costs that have increased.

The proposal also calls for an increase in monthly curb side recycling service of 13 cents per cart from $4.88 to $5.01. Recycling rates have not increased since fiscal year 2013.

For water and sewer rates, the proposal calls for changes to the rate structure.

For residential customers, currently the Town uses a tiered rate system with three levels. For up to 2,500 gallons of water per month, the rate is $13.50 for water and $23.50 for sewer. For 2,501 to 7,000 gallons per month, the incremental rate per 100 gallons over 2,500 gallons is $0.45 and $0.58 for sewer. Use over 7,000 gallons in a month is $0.675 per hundred gallons and $0.87 for sewer.

The current proposal is to create a fourth tier for use over 12,000 gallons per month with an incremental rate per 100 gallons of $1.0125 for water and $1.305 for sewer.

Residential customers using less than 12,000 gallons of water and sewer per month will see no change in rates.  Copenhaver explained the proposed change to the rate structure is estimated to impact approximately 6% of the annual residential billings and although only 6% of the accounts billed, it is estimated that those bills represent over 32% of the annual residential water use (Over 30 million gallons).

For commercial customers, another tier will be added for those who use over 70,000 gallons per month at an incremental rate of $0.8675 for water and $0.890625 for sewer. Those using less than 70,000 gallons per month will see no change in their rates.

The proposal increases the number of full-time staff to 46 by adding positions to the Parks and Recreation Department and Administration Department.

Copenhaver explained the position for Parks and Recreation was deemed necessary by the Council due to growing demands relating to Town facility  rentals, as well as other Town sponsored events and activities. Another position is being added in the Administration Department and will be split between the General Fund and the Water and Sewer Fund due to increasing workloads as the Town's population increases, tourism continues to grow and compliance requirements expand.

A 2% cost of living adjustment and a 2% merit increase for full time staff is also proposed for next fiscal year.

The public hearing will be held June 5th, at the temporary town hall facility located at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area. Call 910-458-8216 for more information on location and directions.

Town Hall, Building Inspections and Police staff are located at a temporary facility on the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area, behind the National Guard Training facility. This site is on South Fort Fisher Boulevard across from the Ocean Dunes complex on the right hand side coming from the down town area.

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