DOBSON — Dobson’s property tax rate will remain the same, while water and sewer customers will see slight increases to those rates.
Thursday evening, the town Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve Town Manager Josh Smith’s recommended budget.
“The most important thing to note is that our (property) tax rate will remain at 38 cents (per every $100 in property value),” Smith told the board.
The $3 million budget is 7 percent larger than the the 2016-17 fiscal year’s $2.8 million budget. However, more than half of the increase ($132,000) is the result of using Powell Bill monies, funds restricted to streets projects, to repave a number of town roadways.
Related to that expenditure, Smith also got the go-ahead from his board to proceed with bidding for the resurfacing.
A study of the town’s roads indicated there are about two miles of town-maintained roadways which need immediate attention.
The bid package includes all of those roadways.
Smith explained that the bid package will include a page on which companies bidding will have to indicate how much they would charge for each stretch of roadway identified in the study. If the total bid package is not affordable, town commissioners can choose which streets to complete right away with available funds.
A timeline for the bidding process Smith included in the agenda packets of commissioners indicates the town should have bids returned to it by mid-August.
The budget also funds a replacement cruiser for the town’s police department and a 3-percent cost of living wage increase for town employees.
The current budget year, which comes to a close on June 30, was the second in which the town had split its water and sewer funds.
Smith explained that getting the two separate funds operating independently could take some time and some rate adjustments. Slight increases to the town’s water and sewer rates were enacted for the 2016-17 fiscal year, and as a result of the budget passed on Thursday, more are in store for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
The 10-cent volumetric water rate increase would bring the rate to $3.10 for every 1,000 gallons of water used by Dobson water customers.
An increase of 50 cents to the town’s sewer rate, will bring the town’s volumetric sewer rate to $4.85 per every 1,000 gallons of water used.
The budget also includes an allocation for a new town employee, to be paid mostly from the town’s water and sewer funds.
Smith has stated that the employee is necessary to ensure town residents and water and sewer customers are delivered the level of services they have come to expect. The new employee will be tasked mostly with maintenance, freeing up other trained employees to run equipment and service water and sewer lines.
In other business, Smith told the board, which was absent Commissioner J. Wayne Atkins and Mayor Ricky Draughn, that the first phase of the project to overhaul the town’s water treatment plant is nearing completion.
Two new pumps at the plant will likely be “cranking” around the Independence Day holiday, said Smith.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.