Council approves budget

Published 5:32 pm Monday, May 20, 2013

Washington’s 2013-2014 budget is a done deal.

The $60 million budget goes into effect July 1.

The City Council took just moments Monday afternoon to unanimously approve the budget, set the property-tax rate and adopt a fees schedule. The 2013-2014 budget keeps the property-tax rate at 50 cents per $100 valuation and does not increase fees for city services such as water, sewer, trash disposal and electricity.

Mayor Archie Jennings addressed the effort to put together the upcoming budget. His comments came after City Manager Josh Kay praised city staff and the council for making the budget-writing process a quick and efficient one.

“I appreciate your comments Mr. Manager and also share the thanks from the board out to the staff for the process that we went through. The process was absolutely outstanding and with the work that was submitted, the back-and-forth was very productive,” Jennings said. “We are very, very thankful. I think the process was exactly what we thought it could be. The product shows through as well. Again, thanks to all. It was a very different process than what we’re used to and a tremendous improvement.”

The 2013-2014 budget changes the city’s fee structure for business licenses (also known as privilege licenses).

With the modified fee schedule, 300 businesses in Washington should see the fees they pay for business licenses decrease.

Three businesses would pay more for business licenses (also known as privilege licenses) under the new fee schedule.

The new fee schedule takes effect July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

Under the new proposed fee schedule the following would occur:

• For a business with less than $5,000,000 in gross sales, a business license would cost $50.

• For a business with gross sales between $5,000,001 and $25 million, a business license would cost $1,000.

• For a business with gross sales in excess of $25,000,001, a business license would cost $5,000.

The maximum fee for any business is $5,000.

• Manufacturers are exempt from fees.

• Businesses providing services in several categories (retail, wholesale service) may combine the gross sales into one category and pay the respective fee.

Under the proposal, the fee for an Internet sweepstakes machine would be $1,000.

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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