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Belhaven board adopts budget, tax increase

BELHAVEN — The Belhaven Board of Aldemen adopted its 2018-19 fiscal year budget on Monday by unanimous vote with those in attendance during a special meeting and public hearing at the Belhaven Civic Center. The budget for the coming year includes a two-cent tax increase, bringing the town’s total tax rate to 59 cents per $100 valuation.

“Revenue neutral would have been 57 cents,” Interim Town Manager Lloyd Ballance explained to the board. “If everybody was equal, 57 cents is what it would take to get the same amount of money as last year.”

Ballance informed the board that since many tax values in Belhaven decreased during the recent revaluation, a tax increase was necessary to maintain the town’s finances. With the new tax rate, the town is expected to increase its fund balance by approximately $56,000 by June 2019.

Total expenditures and revenue for the coming year were set at $5,118,227, of which $1,321,065 accounted for the town’s general fund. Utility funds, which are maintained separately from the town’s general fund, account for $3,586,617 of the town’s overall budget.

While the electric fund is projected to increase its fund balance by $30,800 by June 2019, fund balance appropriations of $8,138 and $7,785 are budgeted for the water and sewer funds, respectively.

Outside of day-to-day government operations, the general fund contains approximately $77,400 under the category of special appropriations, setting aside money for the town’s Independence Day and Christmas celebrations, as well as community organizations such as scouting programs, the Boys & Girls Club and the Belhaven Library.

Councilman Robert Wilkins was not in attendance.