Saluda proposing .02-cent tax increase 

Published 11:57 am Monday, May 13, 2019

City could adopt budget Monday following 6 p.m. public hearing 


SALUDA—Saluda residents have the opportunity on Monday to make comments regarding the city’s proposed budget for 2019-2020.  

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A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, with a special meeting following to adopt the new budget. The city’s regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m.  

Saluda is proposing a slight tax increase, at .02 cents for next year. The new budget year will begin on July 1.  

The new tax rate is proposed to increase from 6.45 cents per $100 of property valuation to 6.65 cents per $100 of property valuation.  

The total tax rate includes 5.6 cents for the general government and another 1.05 cents for the fire tax. Saluda’s fire tax is expected to remain the same as the current year.  

The city also has budgeted $38,000 next year for debt service payments on the city hall renovations.  

Saluda’s administration budget is proposed to stay at four positions; the city manager, finance officer, city clerk and administrative assistant. The new budget does include a 2 percent cost of living adjustment and an up to 3 percent merit reserve in lieu of longevity pay.  

“The budget renewed funding for economic development and the continuation for Polk and Henderson County to collect city taxes,” said Saluda Finance Officer Julie Osteen.  

The police department will remain at four positions, including the chief, a sergeant and two duty officers. The city is also budgeting money to replace a police vehicle.  

Water and sewer rates will remain the same, as well as the same employees. Saluda has been raising rates the last few years to pay for an over $2 million to fund water and sewer improvements. The loan was obtained through the United States Department of Agriculture.  

The water and sewer budget includes funding for four positions, including the supervisor and three maintenance staff. The new budget also includes money to purchase a mini excavator and new pumps as well as to pay back the USDA loan.  

The city is budgeting to receive $1,224,566 in general fund revenues next year, compared to a budgeted 1,160,305 in 2018-2019 and an amended $1,172,906.  

Total expenditures are expected to be over revenues next year, with the city using fund balance to balance the budget as needed. Projected expenditures are budgeted at $1,366,433 next year, compared to this year’s amended expenditures of $1,305,314.  

Monday’s meetings will be held on the second floor meeting room of the Saluda Public Library.