By Jesse Wood
June 28, 2012. On Tuesday, the Blowing Rock Town Council unanimously approved the 2012-13 fiscal year budget that totals $6.3 million.
The budget has a tax rate set at $0.28 per $100 valuation, which is the current tax rate. The Recommended Budget includes changes to water/sewer fees, with an increase of $0.50 per month in both water and sewer fees and a reduction in the water interconnection fee of $1.00 per month, which results in no net change. All other charges/fees are unchanged.
The Town’s tax base is split between two counties – Watauga and Caldwell. Watauga County represents approximately 94.33 percent of the total property tax base. Caldwell County accounts for the remaining 5.67 percent. The total property tax base (excluding motor vehicles) is estimated to be $1,080,576,000, which is slightly higher than FY 2011-2012 budget base of $1,075,662,800, and is based on information from the Watauga and Caldwell County Tax Offices. A penny on the tax rate is projected to generate approximately $108,055 in revenue. The Town’s property tax base is estimated to be approximately 85 percent residential and 15 percent commercial. The budget for the General Fund totals $4,905,205 which is $15,395 higher than the FY 2011-2012 Adopted Budget of $4,889,810.
Read below for more information or click to www.townofblowingrock.com to view entire budget.
According to a report given to the mayor and town council:
Projecting revenues continues to be a challenge. Several factors include:
Economy – According to UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton, “North Carolina’s economy will grow 2 percent this year, up from a projected gain of 1.1 percent in 2011. While the state has been in recovery since July of 2009, it has been a weak recovery. For 2012, the economy is expected to improve modestly and likely to continue the pattern of sluggish job growth.” He also stated that “despite the modest increase in Gross State Product expected during 2012, the state’s economy is still at risk. Connaughton expects the sectors that will post the largest job growth are retail trade, hospitality and leisure services, and education and health
Karl Knapp, Director of Research and Policy Analysis with the NC League of Municipalities also advised that “most economists call for continued moderate economic growth during 2012 and 2013.”
Economists remain concerned that over the coming months, high gasoline prices, a eurozone recession and slowing growth in emerging economies like China may similarly weigh on demand for products and services from U.S. businesses, and on hiring by those businesses as well. In sum, the most common words to describe the future economic growth trends continue to be –
slow, modest, gradual and incremental.
The State Legislature – The State continues to face fiscal challenges. According to recent press reports, NC lawmakers expect a revenue surplus of about $233 million for FY 2011-12. However, NC House and Senate leaders warn most of this year’s surplus will be needed to address a $150 million shortfall for the state’s Medicaid program this year and to close any additional projected shortfalls for the next fiscal year. As such, most expect only an additional $21 million in extra revenue will be available to spend on any new or expanded programs without additional cuts.
The General Assembly reconvenes May 16, 2012 in a short legislative session to adjust the second year of the state’s biennial budget that was approved in 2011. Also, as of this writing, NC Governor Beverly Perdue has yet to release her proposed budget. As was the case last year, all parties have stated that they do not desire to transfer the state budget problems to counties and cities – as always, we will continue to monitor the situation, as the state’s budget problems could affect our local revenues.