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Boone Town Council Unanimously Passes 2023-24 Fiscal Year Budget

By Zach Hill

The Boone Town Council unanimously approved the 2023-24 fiscal year budget at a regular meeting Wednesday. 

The balanced budget totals $36,624,708, a 0.98 percent decrease from last year’s, with a tax rate of 37.5 cents per $100 based on a total valuation of $2,240,547,669 for the general fund and 15.75 cents per $100 for the municipal service district based on a total valuation of $149,777,930. It also includes a 10 percent cost of living increase for all town employees that takes effect July 1.

Council members each had a chance to share their thoughts on the budget’s passage.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done with this budget and the ways we’ve found to stretch every single dollar to get the most out of them that we can on behalf of our taxpayers and community,” mayor Tim Futrelle said. “We take this very seriously. Our staff worked very hard to put it together and they did an amazing job and deserve all the credit we can give them.”

“We did everything we could to allocate for everything we could. I believe this is the absolute best work we could put forward. We put our money where our mouth was. We had initiatives that were important and we set priorities like housing and sustainability, because that’s what the community said was important, and we put money toward them.”

Mayor pro-tem Edie Tugman spoke to the difficulties a town encounters when trying to fund everything it deems worthy.

“We recognize what a penny or penny and a half means in terms of taxes,” Tugman said. “We struggled sometimes with each other about what we needed to do and what we had to do. We wish pennies would fall from heaven but unfortunately that’s not the way it is.”

Council member Virginia Roseman’s comments echoed Tugman’s.

“Planning a budget is not an easy task whatsoever and at times heartbreaking because there’s so much more you want to do,” Roseman said. “And I promise you there is so much more we want to do for you but we are financially limited.”

During the discussion mayor Futrelle called for a standing ovation for the town staff and administration who were integral in pulling the budget together.

Dalton George also thanked staff when he spoke.

“Budgets are extremely complicated and aren’t perfect but this is a really good budget,” George said. “One of the lessons we’ve learned is if you invest in staff and in something you care about, it’ll get solved.”

George pointed to a new full-time social worker for the Boone Police Department to work with officers along with a new housing officer for the town to help with affordable housing as big wins that will benefit the community and town.

Council member Todd Carter lamented not being able to purchase electric vehicles, among other areas the council couldn’t find enough money for wants and needs, because of prohibitive costs due to supply chain issues.

“But onward and upward. We’re doing the best we can,” Carter said. “We want to be known for putting our money where our mouth is. We’re focused on housing, sustainability, rewarding our staff and so much more. The way forward to get things done is together as a team and unit, and that’s what we did. Thank you everyone for working really hard on the budget. This is no small feat.”