Town of Mint Hill Holds Annual Budget Workshop Meeting

Budget Meeting Workshop.
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MINT HILL, NC – On Tuesday, April 6, the Town of Mint Hill Board of Commissioners held its annual Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget workshop with the Public Works Department, Police, and Fire Departments to review their requests.

Steve Frey and Patrick Holton Discuss Storm Water Repairs.
Steve Frey and Patrick Holton Discuss Storm Water Repairs.

Steve Frey, Town Engineer & Director of Public Works, submitted a request for $355,000, which does not include stormwater repairs. The $355K does include $232,000 for Maintenance Capital requests, $88,000 for Parks Capital requests, and $15,000 for Miscellaneous requests. The staff developed and presented the following proposal adjustments to the Town’s current stormwater fee:

  • Switch to a true tier-based billing system based on the type of property (residential or non-residential) and the amount of impervious surface.
  • Adjust the current base rate for impervious square footage and apply it equitably across the four residential tiers.

These adjustments and changes will have the following results:

  • Generate approximately another $150,000 annually ($360,000 to $510,000 proposed).
  • Enable a dedicated in-house stormwater repair crew by funding two new positions.
  • Budget $40,000 annually for repair costs (materials and supplies).
  • Build a large-scale capital project reserve by approximately $30,000 annually.

The proposed changes provide funding to maintain a high level of stormwater repair service, improve response time to qualifying requests, manage BMP maintenance, and improve communications to citizens with qualifying requests.

Mayor Brad Simmons Discussing a Line Item.
Mayor Brad Simmons Discussing a Line Item.

The new tier-based billing system would adjust rates as follows.  Tier 1 (0-1999 square feet) is currently $1.42; the new proposed rate is $1.29. Tier II (2000-2999 square feet) currently at $2.12 would be $1.92.  Tier III (3000-4999 square feet) would be raised from $2.12 to $2.97. Tier IV (5000 + square feet) is currently $2.12 and proposed at $5.00. Commercial is treated separately but is currently $35.34 with a proposed rate of $43.00. The study shows 46.0% of Mint Hill residents fall into Tier III, and 29.1% fall into Tier IV.

The primary focus of the discussion was on stormwater repairs and challenges; however, Parks and Recreation were also reviewed and discussed thoroughly by the Board of Commissioners.

The Police Department proposal was given by Chief of Police Joseph Hatley. The requests made by the new Chief total $6,283,300. The budget proposal includes an investment to hire two additional Patrol Officers in July of 2021. This will bring each squad up to full staffing of seven officers and supervisors per shift. This will increase the department’s staffing to 43 officers. Another investment required is the purchase of 11 additional police vehicles to maintain a modern fleet.

In summation, the Cheif’s proposed budget includes two additional part-time detectives, maintainenance of four part-time officers, contract services, fuel expense and fleet maintenance, purchase of 11 vehicles, technology, insurance, and all other miscellaneous line items requested in the proposed budget. In Fiscal Year 2020-21 the approved budget was $5,681,567.  The proposed budget of $6,283,300 is a $601,733 increase or 10.59%.

Meanwhile, the Fire Department submitted a proposed budget of $2,395,100 for the Fiscal Year 2021-22. Capital expenditures include hiring six firefighters/EMT’s at $351,000, newly updated radios at $54,000, and repaving the back parking lot for $105,000 as the large expenses to be incurred for a total of $567,000 in Capital expenditures.

The Operational expenditures big ticket items include salaries: $1,500,000 for full-time firefighters and another $25,000 for part-time personnel. Repairs and maintenance at $65,000, uniforms at $58,000, fuel at $45,000, radio user fees of $30,000, and other small line items bring the total Operations budget to $1,828,000.

Fire Chief David Leath mentioned the second fire station could begin breaking ground within the next 2.5 to 3 years operating with two firetrucks. The department needs to get more firemen qualified due to class cancellations during the pandemic at local Community Colleges. There is a need for new Motorola radios, attack hoses, pumps, rescue equipment, ropes, and battery-powered pressure fans needed at the fire scene to improve operating efficiency during a fire.

Finally, other areas of primary discussion by the Board of Commissioners included the Mint Hill Athletic Association, Mint Hill Historical Society, Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce, and Servants Heart.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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