New budget provides pay hike

By Bob Shiles - [email protected]
James Bennett -

RED SPRINGS — The Red Springs Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a fiscal year 2017-18 budget that includes no tax increase, provides town employees a cost-of-living increase, and allows for the purchase of a street sweeper.

The approved spending plan of about $9.6 million will hold the town’s tax rate at 64 cents per $100 of property value, meaning the owner of a $100,000 home pays $640 in property taxes to the town.

“This budget represents an ability to provide core services to the citizens of Red Springs without a tax increase,” Town Manager James Bennett wrote in his budget summary. “In addition, we have been able to plan for areas that will improve the quality of life for recreation, revaluation of town-owned properties, and social/economical development, and help foster a deeper pride in residing in this community.”

The budget’s General Fund is about $4 million. The rest of the budget includes a water and sewer fund, Powell Bill money, an electric fund and sanitation fund.

Bennett said the budget includes a 2 percent cost of living increase for town employees, enough money to cover an increase of 9.7 percent in medical insurance, and will provide for the purchase a $200,000 street sweeper. During the fiscal year that begins July 1, the Red Springs Police Department will be able to buy a canine officer and two vehicles. Playground equipment will be bought and the fire department will get two computers and radios for fire trucks.

The commissioners on Tuesday also held a public hearing about a proposal to rezone a part of Third Avenue from Industrial to General Business.

The board voted unanimously to follow the town attorney’s recommendation to approve the proposed rezoning. The rezoning will allow residents whose homes have been destroyed by fire to rebuild in the area, and for businesses to locate there.

No one from the public came forward to comment.

In other business, the commissioners:

— Awarded a contract to Anderson and Associates of Lumberton to move forward with phase two of the development of the town’s new farmers market. According to Carolyn Sumpter, the town’s mayor pro-tem, the project is being paid for with $62,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds and an additional $12,000 from the town.

Sumpter said phase two includes such things as paving the parking lot and closing in the facility.

The commissioners recessed Tuesday’s meeting until 5:30 p.m. Monday when details of the work to be done under the contract will be discussed.

— Recognized Derrick Edge, the town’s Electric Department director, for his his crew not losing any work time in 2016 because of safety-related issues.

— Were told that FEMA has committed to reimburse the town $907,000 for Hurricane Matthew-related expenses.

James Bennett Bennett

By Bob Shiles

[email protected]

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.