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Columbia aldermen maintain tax rate, raise water-sewer charges

The Columbia Board of Aldermen on June 4 adopted the 2019 budget that levies a property tax rate of $.601 per $100 valuation, the same as is being charged currently.

Utilities rates were bumped up, however.

The first 2,000 gallons of water will cost $12.79 versus $12.54 being charged now. Additional volume will be billed at $3.39 per 1,000 gallons as opposed to $3.23 now.

The first 2,000 gallons of sewage will be billed at $14.49, up from $14.21 now; and additional amounts are $6.95 per 1,000 gallons versus $6.81 now.

Rates for out-of-town users of Columbia’s utilities were raised similarly.

The spending plan totals $1,403,735, of which $658,492 goes to the General Fund and $745,243 is for the Water-Sewer Fund.

The eight town employees will get a two-percent pay increase, putting salaries and certification reserves at $279,517.

The Bush Harrell Canal cleanout and flood gate project was budgeted at $23,000. It affects properties adjacent to Columbia Avenue, Howard Street and Virginia Avenue.

Enhanced law enforcement services from the Tyrrell County Sheriff’s Office will remain at $96,366; and fire protection from Tyrrell Volunteer Fire Department Inc. was set at $26,884, both unchanged.

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

The aldermen pulled $79,096 from the General Fund balance, which has undesignated reserves of slightly over $1 million, to avoid raising the property tax rate.

The board based its levy on a tax value of real property within the town of $43,451,336, and it expects that 94% of the taxes levied will be paid before June 30, 2019.