Saluda proposes budget with no tax, rate increases

Published 7:49 pm Thursday, March 15, 2012

After a 10-cent tax increase this fiscal year, Saluda commissioners are considering a new budget with no tax or rate increases.
Salary increases for city employees are being proposed this year.
Saluda City Council held its first budget workshop on Monday, March 12 and discussed the proposed budget submitted by finance officer Ron Cole.
The total budget is proposed at $1,508,120, with $955,895 expected in general fund revenues and $552,225 expected in water/sewer fund revenues. As proposed, the budget would have a $35,140 surplus in the general fund and a $685 deficit in the water/sewer fund.
The initial draft includes a 3.264-percent salary increase for employees, but commissioners directed staff during the budget workshop to provide additional information for employee raises as some commissioners said they thought the proposed increase may be too high.
The current property tax rate of 60.5 cents per $100 of property valuation will stay the same for Polk County Saluda residents, as well as the current tax rate of 62.5 cents per $100 of valuation for Henderson County Saluda residents. For Polk County residents, the tax rate includes 5.5 cents for the fire department; Henderson County’s rate includes 7.5 cents for fire service.
No major capital projects are included in the draft budget.
The draft budget does include taking approximately $20,000 from the unused Powell Bill fund balance for street improvements.
Saluda’s fund balance as of June 30, 2011 was approximately 31 percent of its general fund expenditures. Saluda commissioners have agreed to maintain no less than 26 percent in reserves.
Further budget discussions will continue prior to Saluda’s regular monthly meetings. Saluda’s next meeting is scheduled for April 9.
The new fiscal year will begin July 1, with local governments required to adopt a new budget by June 30.

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