ROSEBORO — The budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 has been adopted without any type of tax increase or water and sewer fee increase, but not without mentioning the hopes of decreasing taxes in next year’s budget.
The total approved budget for Roseboro was approved at just over $1.8 million, nearly $150,000 more than the previous year’s budget.
“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,” Roseboro town clerk and financial officer Tony Blalock shared during his budget message to the board. “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.”
While no tax increase or decrease is planned for the budget that was approved last week, Blalock said it wasn’t without discussion of possibilities in the years to come.
“The tax rate remains at 69 cents and it is the priority of the mayor and commissioners to reduce the tax rate next year,” Blalock said following Thursday night’s budget approval.
According to Blalock, 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. Cash and investments in the Water and Sewer Fund amounted to 56.88 percent of utility expenses.
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 any of 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 approved budget is $15,000 to place a new roof on the community center. 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.
“As finance officer, I need to be diligent to identify tools and equipment that will make our employees more productive,” Blalock said. “Each employee here has the desire to identify areas where we can conserve resources and increase efficiency. It’s a team effort.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.