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Posted on: June 13, 2018

Jacksonville Adopts "No Tax Increase Budget"

(Meeting Tuesday, June 12, 2018) Jacksonville City Councilmembers have voted unanimously to approve a $91 million budget with no tax increase. 

Because of property revaluation, the actual amount paid by some property owners may change depending on whether their property values increased or decreased during revaluation. However, the tax rate for the City will remain the same, $0.642 per $100 of valuation.

The $91,305,287 budget includes a Capital Improvements Plan for projects, a pay step plan designed to retain and attract quality police officers, a general 1.5% Cost of Living Adjustment for other employees, and a 6% increase in Employee Health Insurance cost.

As a result of pending water and sewer projects, and some operational costs increasing, the Council also adopted a 2.25% increase in water and sewer rates. A Citizen advisory committee recommended a series of gradual increases rather than to wait until the projects financing debt became due and face a larger, more substantive, increase. Most residential bills in the City would go up by less than $1.21 under the plan. No changes were made to the Stormwater, Sanitation or County Landfill fees which also appear on most resident’s Utility Bills.

Paving remains a special issue for the Mayor and Council which debated a vehicle tax fee, a five-year quarter-cent sales tax or a special allocation of an additional penny of tax collection dedicated to paving. The quarter-cent sales tax would produce revenues that could pave about 12 miles of streets a year whereas a penny of tax collection would only pave about 1.7 miles a year. The vehicle tax could fund about 3 miles of funding a year. The City’s current program provides for about 4 miles of paving a year. There are 155 miles of City streets. The Council elected to further evaluate the vehicle tax and sales tax options during the new year.

Several Capital Improvement Projects were approved or continued with the budget:
New Bridge Street sidewalk, landscaping, drainage, sewer, water, safety and paving improvements
Water and Sewer Projects to facilitate NC Department of Transportation paving. The six projects require $3.8 million in Water and Sewer expenditures.
Improvements to Northeast Creek Park including restrooms, shelters and playground
Improvements to Riverwalk Marina
Continuation of the City’s Paving Program

For the tax rate, the Mayor and Councilmembers had debated using a Revenue Neutral Rate, a State method which calculates receiving the same amount of revenue with some growth adjustment after a revaluation of property. However, the Council adopted the current rate, electing to use funded reserves to balance the budget.

The new budget takes effect July 1, 2018.

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