Dobson: Read my lips, no new taxes

By Keith Strange

April 14, 2014

DOBSON — Barring an unforeseen catastrophe, the town of Dobson will not have a tax increase next year.

The decision was announced by Town Manager Josh Smith just days before a budget update scheduled for Wednesday’s board of commissioners meeting, which gets under way at 6 p.m., in town hall.

Smith is set to update the board on the ongoing budget writing process, and said the town is facing several large purchases next year.

“What I’m planning on doing is going over some hard numbers regarding what the town is facing in terms of expenditures,” he said. “We have some big-ticket items we’re going to have to purchase this year including a police car, a truck, a phone system for the town offices and ongoing improvements at the water treatment plant. They’re not surprises, but they’re things that are going to have to be purchased.”

While the town is facing some large purchases, Smith said town officials have been able to stash away enough money to cover the expenses.

“As of now, I’m not planning on proposing any tax increase,” he said. “It’s been a number of years since the town has increased taxes and I think we can hold steady for another year.”

The town’s current $2.5 million budget held Dobson’s tax rate at 38 cents per $100 in property value.

Smith said the town has just under $2 million in unrestricted funds in the bank, and he can’t in good conscience recommend a tax increase with money sitting in the bank.

“We’ve been fortunate over the years to be able to add to our fund balance, so I would be hesitant to propose a tax increase before we get to the point we have to pull from reserves,” he said. “Now if you have to do it over and over year after year it is a problem and you need to raise taxes. But we’re nowhere near that point.

“I’m confident we can float some of those expenses by using some of the funds we’ve been able to accumulate,” Smith added.

In other business, the town is set to consider a contract with a new auditing firm, Gibson & Company, P.A., a move Smith said is necessary because the town’s old auditor is no longer available.

The board is also set to pass a proclamation giving support for the National Day of Prayer.

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.