Town of Erwin’s property tax rate going up by 15 cents

Brad Hicks • Aug 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM

ERWIN — For the first time since 2001, the town of Erwin’s property tax rate will see an increase with the new fiscal year.

At Monday’s regular meeting, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved he second and final reading of the town’s 2013-14 fiscal year budget and fixture of the town’s property tax rate for the fiscal year.

The town’s property tax rate in 2013-14 was set at $1.0796 per $100 on real estate and personal property. This represents a 15-cent increase over the town’s 2012-13 fiscal year property tax rate of $0.9296.

Town Recorder Randy Trivette previously said the increase was not necessary due to the town’s capital projects, such as the downtown revitalization project, but said the increase is due to continually rising operational costs. These expenditures include costs of electricity, materials, gasoline and employee salaries and benefits, which Trivette said have continued to climb over the years.

The town’s balanced budget reflects $7,011,400 in both revenues and expenditures. Officials are proposing a little more than $1.4 million in revenue from current property tax in 2013-14, with the total projected revenue from local taxes at $3,074,209.

Intergovernmental revenues are projected to bring in a little more than $554,000; license and permits are projected to bring in approximately $26,800; fines, fees and court costs are projected to bring in $55,000; the town’s department of recreation is projecting $29,000 in revenues; and the town has budgeted $129,086 in revenue from state and federal grants.

Other revenues, including $1.5 million from a capital outlay note to pay for the downtown revitalization project and a $750,000 contribution from Mountain States Health Alliance to be made to Erwin at the time its acquisition of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital closes, are proposed at approximately $3,140,000 for 2013-14.

Around $30,000 in legislative costs and $1,043,293 in other government expenses make up a portion of the town’s proposed expenditures for 2013-14.

Other proposed expenditures include $1,027,334 for the Erwin Police Department; $611,525 for the Erwin Fire Department; and $734,582 for the town’s street department.

Additional projected expenditures include around $204,000 to go to local welfare and social services organizations; $54,000 in expenditures relating to operation of the town’s swimming pool; $178,000 for sanitation; and $257,000 for parks and recreation.

The town has also budgeted $69,140 for animal control, which includes a contribution of $11,635 to go to the Unicoi County Animal Welfare Board. This is half of the amount the board sought from the town in 2013-14, and town and county officials are currently working to resolve the Unicoi County Animal Shelter funding issue. If a resolution is reached by Jan. 1, the other half of the contribution will be provided by the town.

An ending fund balance of $2,876,590 has been proposed by the town for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

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