Council could weights spending plan, setting new tax rate tonight

Published 1:01 am Monday, May 21, 2018

Barring an unexpected hurdle, Washington’s City Council likely will adopt the city’s 2018-2019 fiscal-year budget at its meeting today.

Also, the council will consider setting the city’s property-tax rate at 53 cents per $100 valuation and approve the fee schedule for various city services. The budget, tax rate and fee schedule would take effect July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

The proposed $78-million budget earmarks revenue generated by almost two cents of the tax rate for the public-safety capital reserve and revenue generated by two cents of the tax rate for the police station capital project fund. Those designations have been in previous budgets.

The police station capital project fund will have $1.56 million in it during the upcoming fiscal year.

The proposed budget does not increase electric, water, sewer and other utility rates. It does impose new fees and increases some existing fees.

Beaufort County residents who live outside Washington might have to pay to use Brown Library, which is operated by the city.

Washington’s City Council, during a budget work session April 27, unanimously voted to allow the library to charge $10 to issue a library card to such a resident beginning July 1. A family of three or more would pay $25 for library cards for each family member.

Those fees would take effect if Beaufort County does not provide money to the city to help pay for operating the library. Sixty percent of the library’s patron’s are county residents who do not live in the city, according to Sandra Silvey, library director.

Beginning July 1, the participation fees Washington charges youths to use city facilities when playing most youth-league sports will increase.

During a budget work session last month, the City Council, with a 5-0 vote, increased the fee for city residents from $15 to $20 per sport. The council increased the fee for non-city residents from $15 to $30 per sport.

At a hearing on the proposed budget last week, several people urged the council not to impose the higher fees, saying higher fees would result in fewer children playing organized sports. The council took no action on their requests.

The proposed budget allocates $71,490 to outside agencies such as Eagle’s Wings and the Coastal Plains Boys & Girls Club, $8,000 less than allocated in the current budget. It also appropriates $431,580 for economic-development entities such as the Washington Harbor District Alliance, Washington-Warren Airport and Arts of the Pamlico. The proposed budget includes the airport as an economic-development entity, and it allocates a $244,769 subsidy for the airport. City officials view the airport as an economic-development tool.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 102 E. Second St.





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.

email author More by Mike