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Cornelius News

Budget proposal Monday night will reflect level tax rate

May 29. By Dave Vieser. The town’s new budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 will be submitted to the Cornelius Town Board Monday evening June 1 by Town Manager Andrew Grant. This is just his second budget as Town Manager, and it was clearly the more challenging of the two, reflecting significant revenue losses in areas such as sales taxes due to the pandemic.

However, based on previous discussions with the commissioners, the new spending plan, which should total approximately $24 million, is expected to include no increase in town taxes, as the town incorporates a number of cost-cutting measures.


One-third of your property taxes

Town taxes represent about a third of the average homeowner’s property tax bill in Mecklenburg County.

The budget proposal will include an additional $186,930 over the current budget for Cornelius Fire Department personnel.

A town-commissioned study of our current fire services recommended that we transition to a full-time career fire department, and that full time firefighters should be phased in.

“I concur with their analysis and recommendation,” Grant said.

The $186,930 specifically represents funds to hire six full-time firefighters in January 2021.

Grant’s budget also includes $139,000, a 1.6 percent increase, to cover higher costs which the town must pay into the state retirement system.


There will also be an electric rate increase for Electricities customers of 4.9 percent in each of four years, beginning July 2021.

There are still a few “open” issues:

—Merit Raises for town staff: Grant wants to include a pool of funds to cover an average 3 percent merit raise for all employees. Commissioner Mike Miltich has suggested that the raises be eliminated. He appears to have the backing of at least one other board member, Tricia Sisson

—Timing of purchases: In light of the unknown fiscal circumstances the town faces, Town Manager Andrew Grant said he would consider moving the purchase of some big-ticket items in the budget, such as a new fire truck and police vehicles, to the latter part of the fiscal year in order to provide some additional fiscal flexibility.


Public input June 1, June 15

On Monday June 1, after the budget is presented at a virtual town board meeting, the board will open a public hearing and solicit public comment, with the hearing continuing on Monday June 15, at what they hope will be an in person hearing.

The budget must be adopted by June 30 so depending on reactions to the fiscal plan the town may need to call a special meeting between June 15 and 30 to adopt the budget.

Residents can view the June 1 meeting by going to www.cornelius.org and connecting to the appropriate link.