There will be no tax or fee increase in the town of Matthews if the town board approves the budget submitted to them Monday by Town Manager Hazen Blodgett. The fiscal year 2011-2012 budget proposed by Blodgett would be $18,517,074. The budget reflects a revenue neutral tax rate due to the county’s property revaluation.  Revenue neutral is the tax rate that will bring in the same amount of tax revenue as the current tax rate and is increased to reflect growth in the tax base between reappraisals.

Town Board members will make a decision on the tax rate and the Town budget before June 30, 2011 as required by state law.

“We continue to experience the effects of the recession with limited revenues. Over the last two years we have made significant cuts to our budget. We have put off purchasing equipment and resources as well as not replacing vacant positions,” said Blodgett. “In this year’s budget we have been able to include some items that we have put off replacing as we expect to see a slight increase in our revenues and we do not want to experience any negative impact to the services we provide our citizens.”

A public hearing will be held on the budget on May 23 at 7 pm.

Budget Highlights
• No tax or fee increases;
• No employee merit raises – instead employees would receive a one-time
economic recovery stipend based on their most recent performance review.
• Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) continues to be funded at $300,000;

Departmental Highlights
General Administration (This includes the Governing Board, Manager, Human
Resources, Finance, IT, and Safety/Risk Management).
• Town Board planning conference budgeted at $3,500;
• $2,500 increase in technology allowance due to bi-annual election;
• $17,000 for lobbyist included for six months;
• Customer Service Initiative- $10,000;
• $30,000 for computer hardware replacement and repair.
• Current staffing levels maintained;
• Includes handling dispatch for Mint Hill Police Department
• Four police vehicles with an additional three to be purchased in May 2011;
• Service levels not impacted;
• Records Clerk & Police Major positions remains unfunded;
Fire and EMS
• Increased volunteer incentives;
• Deputy Chief’s position eliminated and replaced with a captain’s position;
• Increased uniform and turnout gear due to increase in volunteer enrollment.
Public Works
• Maintain current staffing levels;
• $5,000 for additional work associated with Comprehensive Transportation Plan;
• Includes pavement survey – $15,000;
• Continues appropriation of $330,000 for road paving;
• $10,000 for mandated street sign changes (first of three years);
• Snow/ice budget increased by $5,000;
Planning Department
• Code enforcement position restored to 60% level- 24 hours per week.
Economic Development
• Continues at $50,000 – focus on marketing and general economic development
programs and Downtown Façade Enhancement program- $7,500. Goal is to hire
a contract employee in 2nd half of the year.
Parks and Recreation
• Maintain current staffing levels;
• Existing program levels remain;
• $5,000 for Levine Senior Center;