The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen will hold a public hearing on its proposed 2017-2018 budget this Thursday, June 8, which will show a slight tax hike after adjusting for the town’s property revaluation.
The $13,457,087 budget will generate about $50,000 in additional revenue, even though the property tax rate will drop. Using a revenue-neutral tax rate change, the town is dropping its tax rate down to $0.1244 per $100 of value, down from the 0.133 percent it collected last year. However, since property values are higher, the rate change will still bring in slightly more money, said Town Manager Tim Owens. The proposed Ad Valorem Tax Rate for the upcoming Fiscal Year is $0.1275 per $100 of value.
Water and sewer rates will remain steady this year, though fire inspections will now come with a fee, whereas the town didn’t previously charge residents for the service.
Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair said the budget accomplished several goals, including adding to the general fund. Blair said that the town has nearly tripled its general fund over the course of the past four years.
“It’s a solid budget, it’s financially sound,” he said.
The budget offers town employees a cost-of-living adjustment in their wages, will add new vehicles for police and the town’s ocean rescue services.
Blair also said the town would be able to make a nearly $600,000, giving it a total of $2 million in its “sand fund’ to cover beach renourishment costs. The total should help the town cover its 17 percent share owed during the next renourishment project, scheduled for 2018.
“We’ll have the money ready in advance, which is a big deal,” Blair said.
Both Owens and Blair said legislation being considered in the North Carolina General Assembly could affect how the budget is allocated. Owens said that if the legislature were to change the sales tax distribution, the town would likely be able to adjust within its current budget to meet any shortfall.
The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Thursday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Wrightsville Beach Town Hall Chambers.