Manteo budget outlined at workshop

Published 2:44 pm Sunday, April 7, 2024

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Manteo commissioners heard “grim” revenue projections for the town’s 2025 fiscal year budget at a mid-March meeting.

Property tax, shared revenue and a healthy dose of fund balance make up 81% of the town revenue stream, totaling $6,435,968.

In the current fiscal year, the budget was balanced with $1,963,531 in fund balance.

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Town manager Melissa Dickerson showed the board that in six years, the town’s budgets started at “0” for use of the town’s fund balance to the $1.96 million this year. She argues that is “not sustainable.”

Recurring obligations are the floor of expenditures, including $71,149 in debt payments; $234,000 of the Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Department, which will need new uniforms next year; the audit; employee salaries and benefits; and insurance. The total floor is $5,104,263.56.

That leaves $539,283.70 for new initiatives.

At the workshop, Dickerson listed one new item: one more law officer plus another vehicle. The department has the second highest incident rate behind the Dare County Sheriff’s Office. Events mean overtime. So far this year, the cost is $61,000 in overtime.

Sidewalks need to be fixed. A priority plan will be drawn up and funded when monies are available.

A cost of living increase was proposed at 3% for $115,500. However, commissioner Eddie Mann convinced the board to go to 5%.

For raising new revenue, the board inquired as to use of Magnolia Market. On the agenda for the April 10 agenda is consideration of two proposals received as the result of a request for qualifications for use of the Magnolia Market.

Another proposal was to increase dock fees.

Also on the expenditure list is “a car to drive to Raleigh without breaking down.” Mann suggested renting automobiles while looking for another vehicle.

Already in this year’s budget is $300,000 for work on Cartwright Park, which will continue into the 2025 budget. On the April 10 agenda, the board will consider appointing a steering committee for that project.

Also on the April 10 agenda is a request to purchase new radios for the town’s law officers. The total cost is $73,000, but a governor’s grant of $24,000, reduces the required budget amount to $49,000. The current radios will be useless in 2025.

The board, meeting on March 20, 2024, took action on two items:

– Appointed new Police Chief Brad Eilert as the official to make recommendations concerning the suitability of persons and locations for A.B.C. permits.

– Approved a budget amendment of $8,185 increasing revenue for the sale of social district cups meeting requirements to downtown Manteo businesses.