Morrisville to consider spending plan focused on transportation needs

aramos@newsobserver.comMay 14, 2014 

— The town would spend $600,000 more to improve local roads in the coming year under a proposed budget.

Morrisville leaders often say transportation is the main concern in town, and the $27.1 million budget proposal reflects the need for upgrades.

Under the proposed spending plan, $300,000 would go toward street repairs and $300,000 would be for a new road at an undetermined location. It also calls for setting aside $120,000 for road projects that could receive federal matching grants.

“We finally will get some forward progress,” said Mayor Mark Stohlman. “It will go a long way with our citizenry about our prospects.”

Morrisville currently spends about $1 million a year on roads, with less than 50 percent coming from state Powell Bill funding.

The draft budget, presented by Town Manager Martha Wheelock, does not call for a property tax increase. But property owners would pay more for the stormwater fee.

The plan is to raise the fee from $23 to $25 per month for every 2,800 square feet of property. The increase would help the town pay for repairs and to hire a new employee.

The change would most affect commercial property owners, who account for 70 percent of the stormwater department’s revenue.

If the Town Council approves the budget, it will be a 1 percent drop from the current spending plan of $27.3 million.

Despite the decrease, Morrisville isn’t expected to cut services. Increases in property tax and sales tax revenues could allow the town to spend $1.8 million in new initiatives.

Along with transportation spending, the draft budget includes five new positions; $550,000 for new police radios; $50,000 for a comprehensive study of the Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center; $50,000 for branding the town; $32,000 for streaming council meetings online; and $25,000 for a community survey.

Employees would receive merit pay increases ranging from 2.2 percent to 6.2 percent.

“We tried to prepare a strategic plan to plan for the future – one that effectively allocates forecasted revenues and helps us keep the same core levels of services as well as proposed needs,” Wheelock said.

The Town Council will meet in a work session to talk about revenues Tuesday. It is one of four special budget meetings planned. A public hearing is set for May 27, when residents can weigh in.

The council must adopt a budget by June 30. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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