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Columbus approves budget

Tax increased budget approved 3-1 Thursday

COLUMBUS—After holding off on approving the budget last week, Columbus has a new budget that has a slight tax increase over revenue neutral. 

Columbus Town Council met Thursday for a special meeting for the budget and approved the original proposal by a 3-1 vote, with councilman Robert Williamson voting against. 

During council’s meeting last week, Williamson asked for council to hold off on approving the budget until they discussed a spreadsheet he created to make some cuts to not have a tax increase. 

The majority of town council has continuously said they do not want to go revenue neutral on the budget and keep the tax rate the same for next year. By doing so, the town estimates to receive an additional $23,799 next year. 

The town let its tax rate the same at 52.46 cents per $100 of property valuation, including the fire department tax rate. The town’s tax rate is 42 cents and the fire department’s rate is 10.46 cents. The revenue neutral rate for the town would have been 40.59 cents for the town and 10.11 cents for the fire department. 

The new budget includes a 15 percent increase in pay to its police officers next fiscal year. 

Williamson said last week the town could lower the tax rate by using unspent money from the current fiscal year in the amount of $269,000. 

Williamson said people and businesses are struggling now and his spreadsheet is a way to have a very good budget with just nickel and dime reductions. 

Columbus increased the tax rate by 5 cents last year. 

The new fiscal year begins July 1. 

The full budget proposal can be found on the town’s website at columbusnc.com under the town government tab.