PILOT MOUNTAIN — Pilot Mountain’s town manager officially presented his proposed 2013-13 fiscal year budget Tuesday night, and as expected, there is no tax increase proposed and a proposed 4.5-percent increase in water and sewer rates.
A June 24 public hearing is scheduled on the budget, but Town Manager Homer Dearmin said he is open to discussing it or answering any questions with residents who call and set up an appointment between now and the hearing.
The Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners already has met three times in budget workshops with Dearmin and town department heads to go over the line item details as town administration was in the budget development process.
“The town of Pilot Mountain is working to bring itself out of a difficult financial chapter in its history,” Dearmin said as he read the prepared presentation. “On June 20, 2011, our fund balance was 4.4 percent of general fund expenditures, well below the recommended level of 8 percent. We have worked to more than double that number as of June 30, 2012, and we are confident that our efforts will see further success at June 30, 2013.”
He continued by pointing out that the town has buildings in disrepair, with money allocated to replace the roof over the police department and board meeting room portions of Town Hall. He also pointed out aging vehicles, with a “fleet of 15 vehicles, many in need of repair or replacement, and with over 1.7 million combined miles,” of which a couple are proposed for replacement in the coming fiscal year.
The proposed budget will maintain the 58 cents per $100 valuation tax rate.
Dearmin said of the general fund revenues, “The greatest unknown concerns our state-collected municipal revenues, which are at stake with several bills in the North Carolina General Assembly, as well as the governor’s and senate’s proposed budgets. No ‘hold harmless’ revenues are budgeted, which is a decrease of $26,000 we received this year.”
In the enterprise fund, which supports the town’s water and sewer services, a rate increase is proposed taking the minimum-use utility bills from $42.12 to $43.80 bi-monthly, and costing users at the next level $3.58 more each two months.
“Our auditors and the Local Government Commission expect that our revenues should be adequate to cover present operating expenses and future capital needs,” Dearmin said. “Until recently, the town of Pilot Mountain fell very short in this regard. It is with that goal in mind that a small rate increase is proposed.”
As has previously been reported, Dearmin said there are no new positions or raises in the budget.
“I regret that I am unable to recommend merit or COLA increases, as our employees as a whole do an exceptional job conducting the daily business of the town,” he explained. “In future years, we must be better positioned to consider upward compensation adjustments for our employees. By 2014, there will have been no such opportunity for employees in three years.”
The town commissioners must approve the new fiscal year budget prior to June 30, but have to hold the public hearing first.
The proposed budget can be viewed at Town Hall, and online on the town’s website, www.townofpilotmountain.com.
The commissioners did not comment on the presentation, but Mayor Earl Sheppard said, “The board will dwell on this till next month when we will make any changes and adopt the budget ordinance.”
Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at email@example.com or at 719-1923.