Manager’s budget calls for decrease in taxes, spending

Town Manager Brian Welch will present the fiscal year 2012 budget to the board of commissioners at next week’s regularly scheduled meeting. After three workshops, the commissioners are expected to approve the budget with few if any changes.
Welch is recommending $10,619,436 in spending for the next fiscal year which begins in July, down about $1 million from the previous year’s budget. Most of the drop in spending comes from a decrease in capital projects and debt which is no longer on the books.
Last year, the town spent funds on purchasing land for the new town hall, permits and testing. Construction costs this year will appear as a “capital project ordinance,” and is separate from the regular budget.
The town hall will cost about $6 million to build, but that money will come directly from the fund balance. While spending over all will be down, so will the property tax rate. Currently, residents pay .275 per $100 in property taxes. Welch is recommending to the board that the tax be decreased to .27 cents per $100.
“We will derive enough revenue to produce a balanced budget while maintaining the same level of service to the citizens,” Welch said.
With Mecklenburg County revaluation appeals still in flux, it is unclear how much the town will take in next year in property taxes. According to town clerk Beth Hamrick, there is about $149 million worth of property that is under appeal with Mecklenburg County. If all of the appeals are won by property owners in Mint Hill, it could mean $400,000 less in revenue.
However, Welch said the appeals have already been factored into the next fiscal
year’s budget.
Despite the economy, the town did experience growth last year, and this helped
with the bottom line.
Other highlights from this year’s budget:
• Nine outside agencies will receive a total of $110,500 in FY2012 this year are the Lion’s Club, which will receive $1,500 and the Armed Forces Museum and Archives of the Carolinas which will receive $10,000. The tourism fund will increase because of an agreement with the City of Charlotte where less tourism dollars will go toward the Convention Center, and more toward towns.
• Mint Hill Police and the Mint Hill Fire Department will get a total of four new
employees. The police department will get a School Resource Offi cer for Rocky
River High School, while the fire department will get three new full time positions.
• Town employees will get a 2 percent cost of living raise, but will not receive a
merit-based raise.
• More money from the Powell Bill will be spent on materials for roads and not salaries. Welch said the town could get more out of the Powell Bill (funds
given to towns by the state for road work) if they paid salaries from a different
part of the budget.

• The planning department will receive about $80,000 less mainly because there will be no new planning studies conducted this year. Welch did not recommend adding another staff member to the planning department, despite Planning Director
Lee Bailey requesting the position.
The public is invited by the town to inspect this year’s budget before it is formally presented to the board of commissioners.
Residents can stop by the town hall (7151 MatthewsMint Hill Road) from 8:30 am to 5 pm weekdaysThere will be a public hearing on the proposed budget on Thursday June 9 during the board of commissioners meeting Citizens are invited to make written or oral comments.

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