Columbus leaders sign off on tax hike

Published 8:00 am Saturday, June 16, 2018

Town approves 2-cent tax increase, 5 percent raise on water/sewer rates

COLUMBUS — After not having a tax increase in 13 years, Columbus residents will see a rise in their property taxes next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Columbus Town Council met Thursday and approved the budget for fiscal year 2018-2019. The budget includes the tax rate increase, as well as a 5 percent hike to water and sewer rates.

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There were no public comments during the public hearing Thursday. The council also approved budget amendments for the current fiscal year to align the budget prior to the end of the year.

Columbus Town Manager Tim Barth said the original proposed budget was presented to town council on May 17, with council having workshops to discuss the budget on May 23 and May 29.

“The original budget included a 5-cent property tax increase and a 5 percent water and sewer rate increase,” Barth said. “After much discussion and some funding cuts, the proposed budget includes a 2-cent property tax increase and a 5 percent increase in water and sewer rates.”

The tax rate increase will mean the town should receive an additional $23,000 in property tax revenue next fiscal year. The 5-cent increase would have meant an additional $58,000 in revenue.

Columbus’ current tax rate will increase from 42.46 cents per $100 of property valuation to 44.46 cents.

For property owners, the 2-cent tax increase will equate to an additional $20 per year on a house worth $100,000.

The 5-percent increase in water and sewer rates will mean an additional $2.25 per month for minimum users. The increase will be more depending on how much above the minimum is used.

The town approved the addition of a new police officer next fiscal year, so two officers can be on duty at all times.

The town also expects an additional 4.5 percent increase in sales tax revenue next fiscal year. The town expects to receive a total of $252,000 this fiscal year in sales tax and is expecting to receive $264,000 next fiscal year, with projected growth from the upcoming World Equestrian Games, which will take place at nearby Mill Spring’s Tryon International Equestrian Center in September.