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Boone Manager Releases Recommended Budget, Property Tax Increase Among Ramifications of $2M Shortfall

By Jesse Wood

May 30, 2013. In wake of the $2-milion revenue shortfall the Town of Boone will incur because the Watauga County Board of Commissioners redistributed the sale tax in April, the final figures for the Town of Boone’s upcoming budget has been much anticipated by residents, property owners, employees and others associated with the town.

town-of-boone-logo2The $2-million shortfall represents roughly 10 percent in cuts from the current year budget.

While the Boone Town Council will meet for a lengthy budget retreat session tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. to comb through the figures, Town Manager Greg Young has released his recommended budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

In order to balance the budget, town departments were asked to submit department budgets with a reduction of five percent from the current year, according to Young’s notes in the recommended budget that was released today on the Town of Boone’s website.

In addition, Young wrote, “Due to the change in sales tax distribution and its associated loss of revenue in the general fund, I am proposing a $0.05 [cent] tax increase. Therefore, the recommended property tax rate would be set at $0.42 [cent] per $100 valuation, with revenues projected at a 98 percent collection rate.”

Young mentioned that the Downtown Municipal Service District will see an increase in revenue with the sales tax switch, so he proposed that 100 percent of the funding for the downtown development coordinator position, which is currently occupied by Virginia Falck, be derived from MSD monies. He also proposed no longer sharing the position cost in the future, yet he noted that the position will remain an employee with the town.

Water and Sewer Fund is proposed at current levels with one major capital improvement project – sewer improvements at Councill and Locust streets as well as along N.C. 105 Extension – to be included in the budget.

Nonprofits requesting allocations did not receive funds in the recommended budget. 

No adjustments have been made in salary for Town of Boone employees and no layoffs are recommended in the budget.

“Due to the loss of sales tax revenue, and potential additional loss pending General Assembly actions, I recommend that we proceed cautiously and conservatively,” Young said, referring to another potential $1-million shortfall that could take place with a change in the state sales tax structure if Senate Bill 394 were to pass.  

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See entire budget here: http://www.townofboone.com/departments/finance/pdfs/13-14%20PRPOPOSED%20BUDGET%2020130529.pdf