Morrisville budget proposal calls for tax hike

aramos@newsobserver.comMay 21, 2013 

— Money for transportation is front and center in the coming year’s draft budget.

Morrisville officials propose a 2.35-cent property-tax hike to pay for the N.C. 54 bypass project and to fund continuing road maintenance.

Typical homeowners could see their tax bills go up by $64 under the proposal presented to the Town Council on Tuesday.

If the council approves the budget June 25, Morrisville’s property-tax rate would increase from 36.65 cents per $100 of assessed value to 39 cents.

Last fall, Morrisville voters approved up to $20 million in bond projects for roads and upgrades to the Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center and Morrisville Community Park.

Another 2.36-cent tax hike is scheduled for 2016 for the bond’s park improvements.

The new tax rate would generate about $816,000 this coming year for roads. The bulk of that – about $696,000 – would go toward the $1.2 million design cost of the bypass. The remainder would be used to increase funding for street maintenance.

To ensure the town has enough money to complete the N.C. 54 project, interim Town Manager Tony Chiotakis said town staff is proposing to hold off on several other initiatives. Those include an expansion of the town’s contract with the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, economic-incentive funds, an employee tuition reimbursement program and matching funds for Capital Area Metropolitan Organization’s federal programs.

Mayor Jackie Holcombe said she would like to see the CAMPO funding put back in the budget.

“We have the opportunity to leverage (our resources) with CAMPO, but we do need to have that pot of money available,” Holcombe said. “Transportation, transportation, transportation. It is well worth it for us to set aside those funds.”

Overall, the proposed $26.4 million general-fund budget is about a $2 million increase over the current year. It includes merit pay for employees, the hiring of two new employees and money to continue work on RTP Park.

Councilman Steve Diehl said he wished there were more money for road maintenance, to add a finance position and to move up the park projects in the budget. But overall, he said he was satisfied with the proposal.

“I think it does what we need it to do at this point,” Diehl said. “I think this is an ideal budget, and I’m very proud of it.”

Residents and property owners can view a copy of the draft budget on the town’s website, www.townofmorrisville.org. The public will also get a chance to voice their opinion during a hearing May 28.

Ramos: 919-460-2609

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