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Tryon council rejects proposed tax hike, lowers rate in budget

The rate provides the town the same property tax revenue as in the current year plus 1.25 percent, which is the average annual growth in the tax base from property improvements since the last revaluation in 2001. The town previously discussed having a 48.35 cent tax rate, but decided against the increase on Monday. Town council also agreed Monday not to increase water or sewer rates yet, but rather to monitor the funds for about four months before deciding on any increases. Town manager Justin Hembree said he split the water and sewer funds for next year and would like to track the funds prior to deciding on how to increase rates. Hembree said Monday that it appears the water fund has been supplementing the sewer fund. Officials have been discussing the need for an increase because of a deficit following water restrictions last year and less water usage.

Included in Tryon&squo;s budget will be $12,000 as the town&squo;s share of funding for a part-time economic development position. The town&squo;s tourism development authority and downtown development association are each contributing $6,000. Council also wants to include approximately $6,000 to pay debt service on a new police vehicle and debt service for a leaf machine.

The town is able to go with a revenue neutral tax rate plus growth next year due mainly to a recent utility franchise tax payment that was budgeted at around $100,000 in revenue and came in over $115,000.

The town&squo;s new budget will also include $10,000 for a lawsuit against the town&squo;s involuntary annexation approved last year. The court case is scheduled for the week of July 13 in Henderson County.

Tryon recessed yesterday&squo;s special meeting until today at 1 p.m., when council will meet to approve the new budget ordinance. The town&squo;s new fiscal year begins tomorrow (Wednesday).