Manteo commissioners to take up proposed budget June 5

Published 11:01 am Monday, June 3, 2024

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Manteo commissioners will take up the town’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 on June 5, 2024.

During May, the commissioners received town manager Melissa Dickerson’s proposed budget and then held a public hearing at which no one commented.

Dickerson proposes a 2025 budget of $6,690,975 with no property tax increase and no additional fees for water and sewer. The only increase is a permit fee for electrical work $10 per $1,000 of cost.

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Property tax and shared revenue make up 68% of revenue for fiscal year 2025. The proposed budget has only $858,314 from fund balance or 12.8% of the revenue budget. The proposal is a sizeable reduction from the fiscal year 2024 budget.

As to fund balance, the state’s local government commission requires the fund balance to reflect 8% of the operating budget. Manteo’ commissioners in 2023 set a goal of 75% of the operating budget to cover the possibility of significant losses. For the past five years, said Dickerson, the town’s fund balance has reached 100% of the operating budget.

The proposed budget includes a 5% cost of living adjustment for employees. A new police officer position will be funded and require a new vehicle. Three new laptops are to be purchased for the police department. A new town vehicle will be purchased for traveling. IT will upgrade the video system in the commissioner’s meeting room.

Dickerson said she asked for a “barebones” budget from department heads and received the same. The police department is receiving a few more dollars and Roanoke Island Fire Department with more volunteers asked for $269,100, an increase of $35,100. All other departments sent in fiscal year 2025 budgets less than fiscal year 2024.

The board scheduled two hearings on two planning matters for the May 1 meeting. No person spoke at the two hearings.

The first hearing was about expanding the Preservation and Architectural Review Committee from five people with two non-voting members to not more than seven members with the two non-voting members. Commissioners Tod Clissold and Betty Shelby expressed opposition to adding additional members. No action was taken.

The second hearing was about eliminating special uses from the B-3 Entrance District Zoning Ordinance. Town attorney Ben Gallop stopped consideration of this amendment because of a conflict between two legal sources regarding what amounts to a downzoning. He is expected to report at the June 5, 2024 meeting.

The commissioners approved Northeastern Marine Construction as the contractor for repairing 100 feet of the boardwalk. The contractor promised a finished repair by Dare Day.

In the May 1 consent agenda, the commissioners:

– Proclaimed Public Works Week from May 19 through 25, 2024 with the theme “Advancing Quality of Life For All.”

– Proclaimed the 55th Annual Municipal Clerk Week, May 5 through 11, 2024 and extended “appreciation to our Professional Municipal Clerk, Jamie Whitley, and to all Professional Municipal Clerks for the vital services they perform and their exemplary dedication to the communities they represent.”

– Accepted a Dare County Tourism Board Fireworks Grant Award of $19,000 for the July 4, 2024 town celebration.

– Accepted a Dare County Tourism Board Grant for Dare Day for $19,000.

At the opening of the May 1 meeting, Destination by Design provided an update to the commissioners on branding and wayfinding. “Meet Me in Manteo” is a different Outer Banks experience, being “not just a place to visit, but place to belong.”

The marketing plan was not yet finished as of May 1, 2024. During public comment Jamie Anderson, owner of Downtown Books and a member of the Main Street Board, urged completing of the wayfinding portion of the branding campaign. She described the current signs as outdated and confusing. “It’s important.”

Sarah Benson shared the thanks for the commissioners attending with the Spring Litter Sweep. A children’s team found a couch in a parking lot. She also thanked the town for permitting the OBX Go FAR group to stage a race within the town. Next year, at the behest of the runners, the race will have the theme, OBX Go FAR Goes to the Movies.

To avoid a conflict with Juneteenth, the Manteo commissioners moved its second meeting of the month to June 26. In July, the commissioners only meet July 17, 2024.