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White proposes same tax rate but higher water-sewer prices for Columbia

Town manager Rhett White kept the $.601 property tax rate but recommended a two-percent hike in utilities prices in the 2019 budget he proposed to the board of aldermen on May 7.

His 14th spending plan, totaling $1,403,735, also recommends a two-percent cost-of-living pay increase for the town’s eight employees, putting salaries and certification reserves at $279,517.

“No major new programs or initiatives are planned although $23,000 is budgeted to complete maintenance dredging to a section of the Bush Harrell Canal, and to construct a flood gate to prevent some of the flooding during high river tides,” White stated in his budget message.

The canal project affects Columbia Avenue, Howard Street and Virginia Avenue areas.

The cost of law enforcement services from the Tyrrell County Sheriff’s Office would remain at $96,366, unchanged over the past six years. And fire protection from Tyrrell Volunteer Fire Department Inc. would be $26,884, also unchanged.

The cost of insurance purchased through the N.C. League of Municipalities is slated to increase seven percent.

To maintain the property tax rate at its current level, White recommends taking $79,096 from the General Fund balance, which has undesignated reserves of slightly over $1 million.

White based his recommendations on a tax value of real property within the town of $43,451,336, as calculated by the county tax administrator. He projects that 94% of the taxes levied by the board will be paid during the forthcoming fiscal year.

The aldermen scheduled a public hearing on the budget proposal for 7:15 p.m., June 4, in the Municipal Building. The public can inspect White’s recommendations in the town office during regular business hours.