Rockingham budget up for vote

First Posted: 6/7/2013

The Rockingham City Council is expected to adopt the city’s new budget when it meets Tuesday.

The new proposed spending plan would keep the city’s tax rate the same for property owners, and include a modest increase in pay for city employees.

A public hearing on the proposed 2013-2014 fiscal year budget will be held as part of the council’s next regular meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 514 Rockingham Road, Rockingham.

The proposed 2013-14 general fund budget amounts to $9,118,302, an increase of $259,378 over the 2012-13 general fund budget of $8,858,924.

“The primary goal for 2013/2014 is to continue to provide the same level of services to our citizens and customers as current year in a cost effective and efficient manner. The FY 2013/2014 Budget provides for the continuation of all city services at the same level and maintains all current levels of personnel,” wrote City Manager Monty Crump in a report accompanying the new budget.

The proposed 2013-14 budget, prepared by Crump, Finance Director Hazel Tew and staff, calls for keeping the city’s tax at .48 cents per $100 of valuation. It has been at that level since the 2003-2004 budget year.

The proposed budget shows a total of 131 full-time positions fully funded for the coming fiscal year. “For the second time in four years the proposed 2013/2014 Budget contains a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for city employees in the amount of 2 (percent),” Crump wrote.

The proposed budget shows total property values for 2013/2014 are estimated at $639,681,298, which will yield an estimated $3,070,470 in revenue at the proposed tax rate of .48 cents. The city’s tax collection rate is about 97 percent.

Property taxes equal about 34 percent of the total general fund revenues, according to the proposed budget. State tax revenue represents 11 percent of the city’s general fund revenues, sales taxes 19 percent, Powell Bill Aid represents 5 percent, while building permits and fees represent only 1 percent of the general fund revenue.

On the expenditure side of things, the new budget shows the biggest expense in the city’s general fund is the police department which represents 29 percent of overall expenditures, the fire department represents 12 percent, sanitation 13 percent, recreation 6 percent, planning/inspections 3 percent. Those are just some of the items listed in the budget under “General Fund Expenditures by Function.”

Proposed expenditures by department show the new budget has earmarked $2,628,849 for the police department, and $1,135,511 for the fire department. By comparison, the new spending plan includes $1,216,497 for sanitation, $531,945 for recreation, $274,520 for the street department, and $121,362 for the cemetery.

The budget shows $486,229 set aside for administration.

In other matters, the City Council is expected to:

• Consider adoption of budget amendments to the current fiscal year budget for 2012-13.

• Consider a long list of appointments and/or reappointments to various city boards.

• Consider setting a public hearing on the proposed “Shaping Our Future: 2023,” as the official land use plan for the city.

— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at [email protected]