Mayor Message: Rent and other incomes

Published 3:52 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This is the third in a series of info letters that I will be sending during this year. They have dealt primarily with how I perceive the town is faring with regard to the economy and those losses and belt tightening which we will have to face. This is by no means all inclusive. This letter concerns rents and other incomes. Bear with me while I highlight some points from my first two letters.

Since I became mayor in 2001, we have cut taxes twice, and during the most recent property reevaluation we held the overall tax as closely as possible to revenue neutral. Revenue neutral means that we actually collect very little more in taxes than the year before even though some people had property that increased in value while other property was valued at less. The actual total of ad valorem (property) taxes to be collected for the fiscal year 2010-2011 is projected to be less than 2009-2010 year.

The town has attempted to maintain the same level of services since I have been mayor; however, we are now at a crossroads. We have some serious financial choices to make during the next two fiscal years. At the present level of services we will soon run a deficit (we recently had a retirement and cannot afford to refill the position). I cannot foresee us letting that happen.

1. I think that we should actively seek a buyer for the property where the town maintenance shed is located. Once that is done we should take the funds and build a large Butler type building at the sewer plant to house vehicles, spare parts, tools, and materials needed by our work crews. This would get that property back on the tax rolls for some much needed revenue.

2. I think that we should consider a citizens group along the lines of the Polk County Courthouse Committee to begin a study of the restoration of town hall as it was at the turn of the century. We already have one committee in place. The top floor of the building was expanded, probably over 50 years ago. That expansion made the building look the way it does today. The original building had large dormers on the third floor. The top floor contains approximately 3,000 square feet that are not being utilized at all, but they are not habitable at this time. If we raised monies and applied for restoration grants, we could turn the top floor into ten good sized offices, a large reception area, two restrooms, and a conference room. This would be a great spot for people who are not quite ready to retire and need a small office away from home. We could provide an administrative assistant, utilities, the internet, and a central calling (1-800) number for one price per month. The businessperson then need not be present every day. The rental of these small offices would garner the town some much needed revenue.

At this time the town receives over $43,000 per year from rent and use of Town space. This helps us keep taxes down about 3.5 cents per year. While this is great, I feel that some of these funds should be put to use to renovate town hall, allowing us to garner more rent.

3. Eventually the second floor of both of the other town hall buildings should have an identified use and be renovated to generate income and have some meeting space.

4.&bsp; There are other ways that we could raise funds. Some of these may not be feasible; however, if we get enough generated ideas, some of them will pan out.

a- We could charge a higher out of town business fee to set up at our in-town events.

b- We could require an auto tag/sticker that says Tryon.

c- We could bottle and sell Morris Mountain Water.

d- We could rent out more of town hall.

e- We could sell all items that are not still used by the town.

f- We could begin a round-up to the next dollar on the monthly bill from the town. This money would go into a fund to help upgrade the downtown area and make it more attractive for businesses, ultimately bringing in new customers and new revenue.