The proposed next fiscal year budget for the City of Morganton shows only two rate increases, with tax rates remaining the same.

City Manager Sally Sandy will present her proposed $82.1 million budget for 2022-23 at Monday night’s city council meeting, with council set to schedule a special meeting for June 20 to vote on the budget.

In total, the budget is approximately $4.4 million lower than the current year’s budget.

City customers expect to see their property tax rates remain at 57 cents per $100 of property value. The downtown special tax rate would remain at 14 cents per $100 of property value if the budget is approved.

Water and sewage customers would see small rate increases, but for residents within the city limits, those increases would amount to no more than a combined $12 per year for 5,000 gallons of usage for each service. Customers outside the city limits would feel the effects of the rate increase a little more, with the combined annual cost of the two rates coming to about $23.

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To break this down, the budget would see the volume charge for the city water rate increase by 4%. That’s about 25 cents per month for customers within the city limits and 50 cents per month for customers outside the city limits. These rates assume the customer uses 5,000 gallons per month, based on the proposed budget.

Volume charges for the city’s sewage rate would also increase by 4%, or about 70 cents per month for customers within the city limits and about $1.40 per month for customers outside the city limits. the city. Again, the monthly amount assumes customers are using approximately 5,000 gallons per month, based on the proposed budget.

As these utilities see their rates increase, Sandy recommended a 5.5% rate cut for electric customers, which translates to savings of about $60 per year for residential households, and between 1,300 $ and $15,000 in annual savings for commercial customers, according to the bill. budget.

Changes to electricity, water and sewage rates would all come into effect on August 1.

Those still hooked up to CoMPAS cable might be happy to hear that there is no proposed rate increase for television service in the budget.

Internet customers still using the 10 Mbps Internet speed will need to upgrade to 50 Mbps, which has a rate of $49.95 per month, if the budget is approved as submitted. Sandy said in the budget summary that a national consultant recommended consolidating internet speed deals to stay competitive. The change would take effect in the August billing cycle.

Residential phone customers would see a $3 per month rate drop starting August 1 under the proposed budget.

Sandy proposed a 4% cost-of-living adjustment for all full-time city employees, which would take effect July 2. The proposed budget also includes a 2% merit increase for eligible full-time employees that went into effect in February. The city rate for part-time employees would be increased to $10 per hour as part of the budget.

The city expects sales tax revenue to grow, and Sandy wrote in her budget that conservative projections estimate she will generate more than $6 million for the general fund.

Projects on the table for the general fund this year include the purchase of a new Knuckleboom for the City Streets Department, a new fire truck, a master plan for CoMMA, and a new comprehensive plan to replace Mission 2030. The first phase of improvements and restoration flows to Bethel Park, for which the city received $443,914 in grants to be matched with $393,897 in local funds.

Sandy’s budget will still support $125,000 for downtown restaurant recruitment and $120,000 to support street building for new housing developments.

In the water fund, most of the change is spent upgrading sedimentation at the water treatment plant. This project will require $4.16 million, and staff are seeking grants and low-interest loans to fund it.

For the sewage fund, the city is looking to upgrade and expand the Silver Creek Pumping Station. This has a budget of $5.31 million, and city staff are also seeking grants and low-interest loans to fund this project.

This budget includes dollars the city received through the American Rescue Plan Act. The city has selected three priorities for funding:

  • An upgrade to the sludge treatment system at the wastewater treatment plant ($305,000).
  • Purchase and installation of an equipment wash station at the garage services facility ($530,000).
  • Resurfacing of city streets ($800,000).

The city previously allocated $1.7 million in funding for sewer upgrades along NC 181. With these funding commitments, the city still has approximately $1.5 million in federal ARPA funds that must be committed by December 2024. Funds must be spent by December 2026. .

Also on Monday evening:

  • A budget amendment to recognize an insurance reimbursement for the sanitation service.
  • A grant application for the Bethel Park Creek Restoration Project.
  • An amendment to the solid waste management ordinance.
  • A public hearing for the Community Development Block Grant Action Plan, its approval and a Budget Order and Administration Contract.

The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Morganton City Hall Council Chamber.

Chrissy Murphy is editor and can be reached at [email protected] or 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.