Manteo proposed budget presented; hearing set for May 17

Published 5:07 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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On Wednesday, May 17, Manteo Board of Commissioners will hold a hearing on the town administration’s proposed budget.

The recessed session starts at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall.

The proposed budget does not call for a property tax increase, reported town manager Melissa Dickerson in her budget presentation May 3, 2023. The rate will remain at $0.3544 per $100 of assessed valuation.

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Also, fees for water and sewer systems use will not increase in fiscal year 2024. But fees will change at the town’s marina and in various planning permit and site plan reviews.

Over the last five years, the town’s fund balance has been steady at 100% of the town’s operating budget. Dickerson called the fund balance “healthy” and capable of meeting unanticipated needs.

The proposed budget offers staff a 6.5% cost of living increase with consideration of a mid-year adjustment in January 2024.

The budget includes costs for a plan to update the Town Hall. In order to install an emergency generator, the town hall’s electric power meters must be moved from inside the building to the outside. The grant also calls for emergency generators at lift stations.

The Community and Economic Development budget now includes all special events, the Downtown Market manager, contract security services for all events and Mainstreet activities.

Information Technology resumes budget responsibility for the town’s docking software.

Under public buildings, increased funding is included for Cartwright Park with the intention of seeking matching funding and for planning for affordable housing on town-owned property on Sir Walter Raleigh Street.

Manteo’s police chief will be retiring in the next fiscal year and the town is obligated to close a financial gap in retirement benefits. Funds are included to meet this obligation.

The submitted Police Department budget asked for two additional officers, however this request is not included. What is included is funding for professional services to determine the appropriate size of police force and review of the department’s procedures manual. Additionally, grants will be sought for vehicles and equipment when additional officers are added. A capital outlay item will replace a vehicle.

The fire protection contract remains the same at $234,000.

Powell Bill funds are allocated to repair town streets and sidewalks. Staff is currently working to create a list of sidewalk repairs to determine the scope of work required.

For Public Works, funding is included for a new residential trash truck to avoid a situation that occurred this spring when residential trash collection was shifted around due to truck breakdowns.

In Planning, funding is included to update the town’s ordinances.

Stormwater allocation has increased due to the west side project. A Golden Leaf Foundation grant of $250,000 has been received for that project. The town will fund the remainder of the estimated $504,137.13 cost.

For engineering of stormwater needs west of Lord Essex Street, $75,000 is allocated.

As for special funds, the Cemetery Fund is expected to receive $51,450 in revenue. Some $18,600 is allocated for projects.

For the Water and Sewer Fund, a 10-year capital improvement plan has been prepared for adoption. The plan prioritizes needed improvements. The plan totals $15 million, grants for which will be sought.

The total budget as presented is $7,838,596.

In discussion, Mayor Bobby Owens offered his thanks for an “excellent job.”

Commissioner Sherry Wickstrom asked that $100,000 included for public art be removed.

Commissioner Eddie Mann said he appreciated the town’s aggressive moves on seeking grants.