LAURINBURG — City Manager Charles Nichols has not recommended a tax increase in his proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
Nichols said the city’s tax rate will stay at 40 cents per $100 valuation. That is expected to provide the city $3.15 million in revenue for the upcoming year, he said.
There are also no proposed increases in the current basic electric rate or the water or sewer rates.
Nichols said the proposed $32.2 million budget was developed in accordance with directives given by the Laurinburg City Council at budget workshops in March and May. The budget is about $2 million decrease over the current budget.
“Given the directives established by council, preparation of this budget has proven to be very challenging,” Nichols said. But we feel like we have satisfactorily met these directives in this proposed budget. This budget addresses a lot of city needs for services and infrastructure.”
Nichols had recommended that city employees get a two percent cost of living adjustment, but council wanted to increase the COLA to 2.5 percent.
“I firmly believe that … employees are the city’s most important asset,” Nichols said.
Council also voted unanimously to give Nichols a five percent raise next year following a job performance review. Nichols makes about $106,000 a year.
The proposed budget also includes a number of capital projects, including $245,000 a street sweeper; $150,000 for four police vehicles; $125,000 for a new pumper truck for the fire department; $30,000 for a downtown pass-thru project; and $12,000 for microphones and soundboard for council chambers.
Money has also been allocated in the budget to continue funding the Laurinburg-Scotland Chamber of Commerce, Scotland County Economic Development, the Laurinburg Downtown revitalization Corporation; and the Scotland County Humane Society.
“This budget includes upgrades and extensions to city infrastructure, not only to maintain services, but also to increase service,” Nichols said. The preparation of this budget has truly been a team effort. I would like to thank all city department heads for developing and presenting well-planned budget requests and making sacrifices when necessary.”
If approved by council, the new fiscal year will begin July 1.
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023