ROWLAND — The fiscal 2017-18 budget approved by the Rowland Board of Commissioners Tuesday meets his goal of maintaining the tax rate while ensuring town employees receive a pay raise, the town clerk said.
“This is a very tight budget, but I see a good future ahead for the town,” David Townsend said. “It’s a pretty vanilla budget. In preparing it we followed previous goals and used figures from the current budget.”
The total budget, including the General Fund, and the Water and Sewer Fund, is $1,358,636. It holds the town’s tax rate at 70 cents per $100 of property value.
The budget also maintains the town’s current fees for water, sewer and garbage collection. The basic monthly fees for water and sewer up to 2,000 gallons is $19 for water and $22 for sewer, according to Townsend. Garbage collection is $8 a month for one roll-out container.
The budget includes a 3 percent salary increase for the seven employees of the Rowland Police Department and a 2 percent salary increase for the town’s remaining seven full-time employees and one part-time employee, Townsend said. The budget, which becomes effective July 1, is slightly higher than the current budget in part because of rising insurance costs.
The four commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the budget after holding a public hearing during which no one spoke.
The budget is now available for public review at Town Hall, Townsend said.
In other business, the commissioners asked Townsend to move forward with the establishment of an ordinance regulating registration of businesses that locate in but do business outside of Rowland.
The state General Assembly has passed legislation doing away with privilege licenses, resulting in the loss of a significant revenue source for many communities, said Marvin C. Shooter Jr., the town’s mayor pro tem.
“In small towns like Rowland the property owners end up paying for services used by individual businesses,” Shooter said. “To recoup their expenses, some municipalities are now charging for permits. If you have a light, or a parking space that is being used by a business you should be able to recoup the money you paid.”
Townsend was directed to look into what other municipalities the size of Rowland are doing to replace revenue lost by not being able to charge businesses for yearly privilege licenses. Townsend is to take the information he gathers and develop a business registration ordinance and fee scale.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.