Sunday, May 22, 2011

[High Point] "City budget calls for property tax increase, higher utility rates"

"High Point City Manager Strib Boynton’s proposed 2011-12 budget calls for a property tax increase, as well as utility rate increases, as the city tries to address continued erosion in its tax base and revenue sources.

At $317.7 million, the proposed budget represents an increase of $8.6 million, or 2.7 percent, from the city’s current spending plan.

...The budget would raise the property tax rate 2.9 cents – from 63.3 cents to 66.2 cents per $100 of assessed value.

...Boynton said it’s necessary to sustain existing services and recover $831,000 in revenues lost as the city’s taxable values have dropped and to prevent the anticipated loss of $400,000 to $600,000 in sales tax dollars.

The budget also calls for a 5 percent electric rate increase to cover the city’s cost to buy wholesale power through ElectriCities, along with 4.9 percent water and sewer rate increases largely related to continuing improvements associated with the Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The estimated impact of the rate increases for the typical owner of a $150,000 home is an increase of $146 per year, or $12.16 per month...

Boynton said the city has cut costs by $13.8 million in the past two years and is continuing to suspend salary increases for city workers and is freezing 53 vacancies.

The city also will shift more of the cost for health insurance to employees.

...Boynton said the city will have to tap fund balances next year."

High Point Enterprise

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