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Kill Devil Hills commissioners cover budget, street improvement projects at meeting

Kill Devil Hills town manager Debora Diaz presented the estimated 2021-22 budget to commissioners at the May 26 regular meeting.

Diaz presented a 103-page budget report, highlighting general budget items and changes as well as division-by-division explanations. “The review and adoption of the annual operating budget is one of the most important policy-making responsibilities of the Mayor and Board of Commissioners,” Diaz wrote in her report overview.

The 2021-22 general fund revenue is projected at $21,489,445, funded primarily by ad valorem taxes at 46% at almost $10 million; other taxes and licenses at over $7 million; unrestricted government at just over $1 million; and permits and fees at over $400,000.

The town-wide tax rate will remain the same at 32 cents per $100 valuation of real property.

The major appropriations from the general fund continue to be police ($4 million); fire ($2.8 million for Station 14, $737,000 for ocean rescue); administration ($2.4 million for building and grounds, $1.3 million for general administration); public works ($3 million for solid waste, $2 million for streets); planning and development ($1.2 million beach nourishment, $1 million general planning and development), and finance and taxes ($1.7 million).

At the meeting, Diaz also explained the changed to the town code for the required North Carolina State Statutes 160D, which requires that all local governments come into compliance with the state in areas of zoning, planning and development.

Town engineer Pete Burkhimer suggested amending the street improvement plan for 2021-22. Procuring equipment has proven difficult. He recommended tackling only the West Third Street project including paving, drainage, sidewalk construction and water main replacement and saving the projects on Seminole Street and Wrightsville Boulevard for the following budget year.

“It’s a crazy time – there are no guarantees – we are just trying to be good stewards of the resources we’ve been given,” Burkhimer said.

Mayor Ben Sproul agreed: “There’s a lot of demand for all that equipment and that affects price. There’s a lot of excitement for Third Street. It’s very efficient that we’re doing it all at the same time. We are stewarding the public’s money in the best way possible.”

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