Hearing on proposed city budget set for Monday

Published 8:40 pm Saturday, May 11, 2013

Washington residents may provide input on the city’s proposed 2013-2014 budget during a public hearing Monday.

The hearing, which begins at 6 p.m., is part of the City Council’s tentative agenda for its meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m.

The proposed city budget keeps the property-tax rate at its current level, according to City Manager Josh Kay’s recommended $64 million overall budget.

That tax rate is 50 cents per $100 valuation. That means the annual tax on  a $100,000 house remains at $500. The proposed budget also keeps electric, water and sewer rates at current levels.

The City Council has final say on the budget, which takes effect July 1.

The overall budget includes a $15 million general fund, which covers day-to-day operations of city government. It also includes a $36 million electric fund, a $1.58 million reduction when compared to the current electric fund.

Kay’s proposed budget advocates transferring $470,000 from the electric fund to the general fund, a $376,121 decrease when compared to the transfer in the current budget. The council has been working toward eventually eliminating the transfer. Several years ago, that annual transfer was slightly more than $1 million.

Also included in the proposed budget is a change in the city’s business-license fee schedule, which was OK’d by a nonbinding straw poll by the council Thursday. The council has been considering modifications to the existing fee schedule for several weeks.

Under the proposal, 300 businesses in the city would pay less for businesses licenses, with only three paying more for businesses licenses. However, adopting the proposed fee schedule would reduce revenue generated by the business licenses by nearly $320,000. To make up that loss of revenue, the city plans to decrease some expenses, increase revenues in other areas and use installment financing to pay for some capital projects and equipment instead of paying cash for them.

The proposed budget would provide more funds to market the city than Kay’s initial recommended budget allocated. To provide the extra money for that marketing effort, the council decided to defer some other project and programs.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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