Matthews budget decreases by 2.6 percent

The Matthews Board of Commissioners received the proposed Fiscal Year 2009-2010 budget from Town Manager Hazen Blodgett during its regularly scheduled meeting. This budget focuses on maintaining current services for citizens during this economic recession.

The proposed budget for the town would be $17,958,317. This is $468,310 less or a 2.6 percent decrease from the 2008-09 budget. There are no proposed tax or fee increases in the budget. The current tax rate will remain at .3325 cents per $100 valuation. “This is a difficult time for everyone,” Blodgett said. “Revenues have dropped as sales tax and our other sources of income have dropped. This year’s budget reflects our efforts to maintain the services we provide to our citizens. We are holding our own with this budget. We are deferring or delaying equipment, vehicles, staff training, and employee items until the economy improves.” The town is projecting a 2 percent decrease in property tax revenues and a 9.2 percent decrease in sales and excise tax revenues.

The budget does include using $371,638 from the fund balance to cover budget items. The fund balance is the town’s savings account or “rainy day” fund. All municipal budgets are similar to the average person’s budget. The Town has a “checking account” – the general fund and a “savings account” – the fund balance. In North Carolina laws are in place that ensures that every town has a healthy fund balance. The Town of Matthews has a policy in place wherein the fund balance is 34 percent of the town’s general fund. Thus, the town is able to use this account when times such as this economic recession necessitate.

Highlights of this year’s budget include:

  • No tax or fee increases.
  • No employee merit raises.
  • Vacated positions will remain frozen except public safety/critical positions.
  • Purchase 4 police vehicles.
  • Implementation of the Town’s Strategic Framework which will ensure resources are best allocated in order to achieve the Town’s goals.
  • Expand the recycling program to large apartment complexes.
  • Hire an Economic Development Director in January 2010 to implement the Town’s Economic Development initiatives.
  • Purchase turnout gear and other supplies for the fire department.
  • Design for the Stumptown Park restrooms.
  • Reduction in operating expenses in all town departments.
  • Maintain budget for street repaving.

A public hearing will be held on the budget on May 26 at 7 p.m. and the Town Board of Commissioners will vote on it prior to June 30, 2008.

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