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Cornelius News

Tax rate will rise 6% with new budget

June 21. By Dave Vieser. By a 4-1 margin, Cornelius Town commissioners approved a 1.5 cent increase in the town’s tax rate Monday. The $21.65 million FY 2017 budget will cost the owner of a median-priced $250,000 home about $37 more a year in town property taxes. The new rate is 25.5 cents per $100 assessed value.

The new budget was cut $400,000 from Town Manager Anthony Roberts original budget which called for a 2 cent tax hike. Esthetic improvements on the oddly conceived mast and sails design at the Exit 28 bridge were eliminated.

Commissioner Dave Gilroy voted against the tax increase. “I remain concerned about the rate of our operating costs and we need to have a bond issue to address transportation costs as soon as possible,” Gilroy said.

The other commissioners voted  for the budget. “This budget makes sense and is necessary to plan for future committed projects,” said Commissioner Jim Duke, echoing the comments of three other aye votes.

No residents spoke in opposition to the tax hike budget on Monday night. In fact, four—Mike Griffin, Rodney Short, Scott Higgins and Greg Wessling—spoke out in support of the proposed budget and 1.5 cent tax increase with an emphasis on doing a transportation bond referendum to help cover costs associated with the estimated $127 million of future transportation projects. They felt that if the transportation bonds passed, it would allow the town flexibility to reduce the tax rate.

In other comments from the commissioners, Dave Gilroy suggested that, since Mayor Chuck Travis does not plan to resign, he believed that a designee should be made in areas where the mayor represents the town to minimize any negative impact he might have on future issues that impact Cornelius. Mayor Pro-Tem Woody Washam acknowledged that “the citizens are upset right now but it’s time to move on and heal, it’s time to focus on representing the people as the Board was elected to do.” Commissioner Duke supported Washam’s sentiments.