Published: Dec 25, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Dec 23, 2012 08:58 PM
APEX - Although Apex is still feeling the effects of a recovering economy, there are signs of improvement, according to a recently released audit report.
Construction has picked up slightly. The town issued 328 commercial and residential building permits between July 2011 and June 2012, adding $102 million in tax value.
That’s up from the previous year, when the town issued 251 building permits with a $74 million value.
Sales-tax revenue was up 21 percent, mainlydue to population growth, according to the audit. The town’s share of sales-tax receipts increased based on updated 2010 U.S. Census data.
Apex has a healthy reserves fund of $13.1 million. That amounts to about 43 percent of the year’s expenses and is more than the 25 percent the town tries to maintain in savings. The state requires municipalities keep at least 8 percent of their budget in reserves.
Last year, Apex had $12.6 million in savings.
“We paid down some of our debt, and our ending fund balance was up $1.2 million, which means we spent less than we expected,” said Mayor Keith Weatherly. “That’s very good news.”
The town’s total fund balance was $21.6 million.
Town Manager Bruce Radford said Apex saw increases in its general fund as well electric, water and sewer funds.
“We had an outstanding year,” Radford said. “All of our cash balances are up.” While the town saw gains in revenue, it also took on more debt – $44.9 million. The bulk of that will pay for the town’s share of a regional wastewater treatment plant. Construction of the Western Wake Water Reclamation Facility began in 2010 north of U.S. 1. The project, which will aid Cary, Apex, Holly Springs and Morrisville, is expected to be complete by 2014.
Apex will also take on more debt this coming year. By spring, the town plans to sell about $6 million in bonds to build the 160-acre Apex Nature Park off Barbecue Road.
The park will have athletic fields, a dog park, outdoor tennis or volleyball courts, playground, trails, an environmental education area, restrooms, amphitheater, classrooms and a Frisbee golf course.
To pay for the park, the town approved a 5-cent property tax increase in June and dedicated 1 cent of that to repay the bonds.