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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Budget Season in Carolina Beach; Rate Increase Proposed

Editorial: Budget Season in Carolina Beach; Rate Increase Proposed

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council held a budget workshop meeting on April 29th and while there is no proposal to increase the property tax rate, there is a proposal to raise water and sewer rates by 20%.
The General Fund has a healthy 51% reserve fund (Fund Balance Available as a Percentage of Expenditures) meaning the Town has money in the bank that's not designated for a particular use. The state requires a minimum 8% reserve fund balance but it's often recommended that coastal Town's maintain a larger reserve to operate following a hurricane when revenues often are delayed but the Town has to continue operating.
There's also a healthy reserve fund in the Utility Fund that is fueled by water and sewer rates. Keeping all of this in mind; monthly utility bills in Carolina Beach are already high enough. That monthly bill includes water, sewer, storm water, trash and recycling.
In my household with two people it runs around $80 a month. A 20% increase for the water and sewer rates for me would be a budget shock. Ever penny counts.
The proposal also includes a 2% cost of living raise for employees and a merit pay increase of up to 3%.
There were other issues discussed at the April 29th, meeting including beach nourishment funding, buying new vehicles, new computers, software and the list goes on.
The Council will hear the proposed rate increases at a future meeting. There was no discussion during the meeting. The Council will also take input on the budget at their May 13, meeting at 6:30 at Town Hall. Perhaps the citizens should voice their opinions.