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Cornelius News

Town gets down to brass tacks during budget retreat this week

Photo by Jason Benavides

April 3. By Dave Yochum.  The mayor, members of the Town Board and some staff members will attend a budget workshop Wednesday and Thursday at the Holiday Inn Center City in Charlotte to discuss the 2023-24 municipal budget.

Like almost anyone doing a budget, the needs and wants can be greater than income.

Wants and needs

Mayor Woody Washam said the tough job is prioritizing “what is critical as well as meeting the needs and desires of citizens.”

Mayor Woody Washam | Photo by Jason Benavides

The current 2022-23 budget, at $28 million, was 7.2 percent larger than the previous fiscal year. The current town tax rate is 0.2320 per $100 assessed value, among the lowest in the region.

2+ months of work ahead

Next year’s spending plan will be a work in progress during April and May, but it must be approved by June 30 because the new year gets under way July 1.

The new Mecklenburg County revaluations will mean a much higher tax base, but commissioners may decide to reduce the tax rate so that it is “revenue neutral,” Washam said.

Revenue neutral?

Colin Furcht

Denis Bilodeau

Revenue-neutral budgets are usually the target, but may not be achievable in an inflationary environment.

Commissioner Denis Bilodeau said he will advocate for revenue neutral or “as close to neutral while addressing the public’s  identified critical needs.” Among them: Public safety.

Commissioner Colin Furcht said, a penny or two above revenue neutral might be reasonable to keep police, fire and staff pay in line with the market for talent.

The retreat is a special town board meeting that is open to the public. The two-day work session allows elected officials and key staffers to take a deep dive into the details of municipal budgeting and goal-setting.