Going into the new fiscal year, beginning July 1, tax rates are likely to remain the same in all four of Jackson County’s municipalities.
In Sylva, officials will work with a general fund of just more than $4 million. Despite a decrease of nearly $200,000 from the 2018-19 budget, town leaders say they would be able offer the same level of services and fill several department needs.
The police department’s budget, for example, is slated to increase about 2.1 percent. Officers plan to replace one vehicle in the upcoming year with a Dodge Charger. The vehicle, with a $45,865 price tag, would come fully equipped; however, the department also would purchase two in-car cameras, three body cameras, two tasers and three bulletproof vests, for an additional $16,000.
The proposed draft budget appropriates $50,000 from the fund balance for sidewalks associated with an N.C. Department of Transportation project to revamp N.C. 107.
Officials have allocated $20,000 for road work in Pinnacle Park and the new Blackrock Creek section, a 440-acre tract recently purchased through the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
Sylva originally received $3.5 million from the CWMT after finalizing a conservation easement and agreeing in the early 1990s to preserve Sylva’s former Fisher Creek watershed, now Pinnacle Park, from development.
The one restriction on the Fisher Creek Fund is a requirement that 40 percent of the money must be spent on water-quality projects. Previously, board members dipped into the fund to help balance the budget without a property tax increase. The fund has $3,040,543 remaining.
In Forest Hills, the proposed 2019-20 budget remains mostly as it was the previous year.
Officials would have a total of $94,000 to work with, which includes a $16,000 carryover from the 2018-19 budget. These added dollars would go toward roadwork maintenance and repairs, Mayor Kolleen Begley said.
Aside from the annual expenses such as police patrol and fire safety, the town would spend $9,000 for “Professional Outside Services” to be prepared for potential development proposals, according to the budget message.
“Since the village does not have hired and paid qualified staff, the budget committee recommends continuing to allot funds to Professional Outside Services to assist the council in making sound decisions for the municipality and its use of public funds,” the message says. “Professional Outside Services may include but is not limited to: mapping, process consulting and ordinance updates where other qualified resources are not available.”
Webster town board members would have $97,500 under the 2019-20 budget. This would be a decrease of $10,200 from the 2018-19 amended budget of $107,700.
In Dillsboro, the proposed 2019-20 budget amounts to $191,357, which is an increase of $7,228 from the previous year.
Officials are working with the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority to get water across the train tracks to build a new restroom facility at Monteith Park, town Clerk Debbie Coffey said.
“At this time we have not included the cost of the restroom construction in the budget due to the anticipated timeframe of working on the water lines,” she said. “Should the waterline project proceed faster than planned, we would consider a budget amendment to begin the restroom construction, along with pursuing grants to help fund them.”
All town budgets must be in place by July 1.