BLADENBORO — The Bladenboro Board of Commissioners had a first look on Monday at a proposed $1,723,648 budget that keeps the tax rate the same, but increases fees for water and garbage pickup.
Town Administrator John O’Daniel’s proposal for fiscal year 2018-19 keeps the tax rate at 64 cents for every $100 of assessed property value, meaning the owners of a $100,000 home would pay $640 in taxes each year.
The budget must be approved by July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.
The proposed spending plan calls for a 2.9 percent increase in the pickup fee for household garbage and lawn trash. Water rates also increase in the proposed budget.
The monthly rate for up to 1,500 gallons of water/sewer usage would go up 3.5 percent if the budget is approved as is. The rate for 1,500 to 20,000 gallons would be raised by 4.5 percent, and would increase 5.5 percent for 20,000 or more gallons.
“The goal of the increase in water rates is to promote cautious water use,” O’Daniel said.
The proposed 2018-2019 budget is $21,648 higher than the 2017-18 budget because of increases in insurance costs, O’Daniel said. Bladenboro gets its insurance through the North Carolina League of Municipalities. The league made changes to minimums and co-pays, and the town is forced to meet the higher costs.
The proposed budget also incorporates increases in the town property/liability insurance premium of 24.7 percent, and a health benefit increase for town employees of 5.7 percent.
The proposal does not include new positions or major capital projects.
The budget proposal includes one-time spending requestsof $3,388 for Delton rifles and $400 for binoculars for the Police Department, and $8,985.85 for the last payment for the Ash Street sewer rehab project.
In other business …
— Boost-the-Boro, a group of town residents, is working to recapture revenue lost when people leave town to do their shopping. Don White, president of Boost-the-Boro, spoke about the need for a video project that will use social media and advertising to promote the town. s.
The group asked for $2,000 from the board to finance the project. Five short videos and a 30-second commercial would be produced to promote the town. CAB Marketing in Bladenboro would produce the video.
“We want them to choose this community in the video,” Commissioners Sarah Benson said. “We’re promoting this community.”
The issue was tabled without action.
— Commissioners discussed what hasn’t been done about a five-year economic development strategic plan.
“When we started, the committee met to work on small goals,” O’Daniel said. “We need to have the community involved.”
“If we don’t do something, we’ll just sit here and do nothing,” Benson said.
Benson suggested starting small.
“We’ve been doing this for a year, but I feel like my time is wasted. The economic five-year plan hasn’t been touched,” she said. “It’s breaking my heart. If the town took a little more pride, what could we do?”
— Commissioners learned employee evaluations in the town are getting an update.
“Part of an employee’s evaluation will now include a self-evaluation, because it can give a better idea of the work done by the employee,” O’Daniel said.
The plan is to start the process in July.
The next meeting of the board will be Monday, June 11, at 6:30 p.m.
Reach David Bradley at 910 416 5182 or firstname.lastname@example.org.