FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Board of Commissioners unanimously passed its 2018-19 budget Tuesday without public comment.
The tax rate will remain at 73 cents per $100 of property value, and employees will get a 2.5 percent cost of living increase and a one-time $350 bonus. There will be no increase in water and sewer fees.
“This is an outstanding budget,” Commissioner Terry Evans said. “It doesn’t get any sweeter than this. I move to adopt it.”
The $1.97 million budget is an increase of 3.23 percent over the current year. The town’s Police Department is the largest line item at $758,329 for a force with 11 officers.
Fairmont’s population declined to 2,623 from 2,775 in 2010, but because 2018 is a property re-evaluation year, the value of property in town is expected to increase by about 5 percent, Town Manager Katrina Tatum said.
“We took the county’s anticipated increase and figured conservatively for our location,” Tatum said. “I would like to remind property owners of their right to appeal if they believe it is an unfairly high estimate.”
Recovery from Hurricane Matthews continues to affect the town in one important way. Fairmont’s regional sewer facility will see an 8.5 percent decline in revenue to $1.1 million because of reduced volume from Fair Bluff, which was devastated by floodwaters from the Lumber River.
The regional sewer system serves Fairmont, Fair Bluff, Cerro Gordo, Boardman, Proctorville and Orrum Middle School.
No major capital expenditures are included the next budget.
Fairmont’s employees are coming off a five-year drought, from 2010 to 2015, when they saw no cost of living increases. In the following years increases have been 2.5 percent each year except 2016, when they received 2 percent.
In other action, the commissioners appointed Briscoe Stackhouse, a local businessman, to the Planning Board.
The commissioners also agreed to a $45,000 contract for a consulting supervisor of the asset inventory of water and sewer facilities. A $150,000 state grant was obtained through the Lumber River Council of Governments for the project.
Mayor Charles Townsend said a community meeting on youth and workforce preparedness will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Heritage Center on Main Street.
The Robeson County Arts Council will present River Voices, featuring Lakota John and Kin, and Mark Andersen, on Sunday at 3 p.m. at The Stage, located at 205 W. Thompson St.
The Fairmont Fantastic Fourth is scheduled for 5 to 10 p.m. on July 1. It will feature the Too Much Sylvia Band at 5 p.m. and fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m.