ROSEBORO — Despite experiencing financial woes in the past, the town of Roseboro is now in a good financial position, having worked to maximize revenue and decrease expenditures over the last year.
The Roseboro Town Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing Thursday night and adopt the upcoming year’s budget of $1,851,457 for all five of the town’s operating funds. Town clerk Tony Blalock presented the proposed budget, which doesn’t include any tax increase, to the board during last week’s meeting.
“The General Fund ended the 2015 fiscal year with an unassigned fund balance of $921,883, which is equivalent to 88.95 percent of the fiscal year 2015 General Fund expenditures,” Blalock said. “Cash and investments in the Water and Sewer Fund amounted to 56.88 percent of utility expenses, which is good, but given the cost of pumps, motors and other equipment in the Water and Sewer Fund, this balance still needs to be improved.”
At the beginning of the current budget year, the town approved refinancing the Sewer General Obligation Bond, the loan for the Senior Citizen Center and a new fire truck. The refinancing decision was slated to save the town nearly $300,000, by lowering interest rates and shortening terms.
“It is less difficult to formulate a new budget when starting from a strong financial position and I am grateful for the tough decisions that were made a few years ago, that put Roseboro back on track and now allows us to move onward and upward,” Blalock shared. “However, there is much work to do to improve our physical plant assets and upgrade essential equipment on which we depend every day. This budget includes substantial investment in maintenance, repairs and equipment.”
According to Blalock, the town has completely reorganized the town’s central maintenance, street and Powell Bill accounts to coincide with changes made by the General Assembly on how street maintenance is funded, moving a portion of the state gas tax to an appropriation from the state general fund. Only paving and essential street maintenance costs can be included in the Powell Bill account.
“In doing so, salaries, benefits and other costs that have been funded in the Powell Bill accounts, now must be funded in other major accounts,” Blalock shared with the board. “In the case of Roseboro, we have previously funded a portion of our personnel costs in Powell Bill, which now must be fully allocated to central maintenance and water and sewer fund.”
Blalock said the town’s budget appropriates $42,082 in the fund balance of the general fund and $39,500 in the water and sewer fund. It is not the town’s intention to use the fund balance to cover planned expenditures, but Blalock said instead, the town has conservatively budgeted revenues and expect those funds to cover the costs of both the general fund and the utilities fund.
“However, if we have major failures of equipment in the utilities fund, as we did this year, use of fund balance is possible,” Blalock added. “I would encourage the commissioners to continue to evaluate water and sewer rates annually and make scheduled small increases, rather than larger rate increases every three or four years.”
Powell Bill accounts, Blalock said, will decrease from $96,000 in the current budget to $72,000 for the upcoming year. All of this account, he added, will be spent on street paving and supplies.
Also included in the budget is $15,000 to place a new roof on the community center. Repairs have been made over the last two years, but Blalock said the building is in need of a new roof.
The Revolving Loan fund is balanced at nearly $65,000 less than the previous year’s budget at $23,462. With no payments expected to be made on the Dr. Powell loan, that fund was decreased.
Additionally, the 2017 budget includes debt service payments of $33,111 annually for the fire truck, $4,837.75 annually for the community building, $24,986.54 quarterly for the wastewater treatment plant and $10,744 annually for the backhoe.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.