As Rutherford County navigates a year where all properties have been reassessed with a new value, the Town is in the process of placing our reassesses priorities into a budget for the coming year. Earlier this year with the help of the citizens, town leaders, and Rutherfordton Town Council, the 2023 Action Plan was formulated to guide the Town over the next 12-24 months. This plan serves as a guide for the Town’s funding priorities and is well represented in the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The Town Manager has now released the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget that outlines the operational spending plan for the Town for the upcoming budget year. This budget proposal also includes the new proposed tax rate for the upcoming year.
As the revaluation has reflected increased property values, the upcoming budget reflects a decrease in the proposed property tax rate to help alleviate the tax burden. When this process happens, the Town is required to publish a revenue-neutral tax rate, or in essence, a tax rate that would attempt to both generate the same tax value as the previous year factoring in average growth and to help generate as close as possible tax relief on property owners. The tax rate in the current year is $0.59 per $100 of value and the revenue neutral rate for FY 24 would be $0.45 per $100 of value. As the Town has developed its budget this year factoring in inflationary pressures, and increased operational costs, through sound financial management the budget looks to provide the same level of services you have come to expect from the Town and fund items from the Action Plan as well as moving forward with projects like the Norris Recreation Complex, 2nd Street Park, and the work of the Redevelopment Commission.
Over the past few years, the Town has worked to invest in and ensure that our facilities are of the highest quality and service to the community. This is reflected in projects like the new Public Works facility on Cleghorn Street, investments at the Norris Library, and the recent renovation of Fire Station #1. The next project on the horizon is to renovate the existing Town Hall/Police Station to accommodate solely the Police Department as they grow and serve the community. This leaves an opportunity to craft a new home for the gathering spaces of Town Hall. To begin moving these plans into a clear vision and to provide funding for these projects and future facilities’ needs, the FY 24 Manger’s Recommended Budget proposes a $0.02 cent tax increase for a tax rate recommendation at $0.47 per $100 of value. The $0.02 cent increase will be used to fund a Capital Facilities Reserve Fund, with the priority to begin looking at the architectural services needed for the current Town Hall/Police Station and to masterplan the cost of crafting a new home for a Town Hall that accommodates larger gathering spaces, meeting rooms, and offices. As with all major Town projects, this will be a process that looks to the citizens to help craft the vision as many community groups, civic organizations, and citizens utilize Town Hall.
The Town Manager will present the recommendations to the Town Council and Citizens at the May 3rd Town Council Meeting. Citizens will have time to review the recommendations online and in person both at Town Hall and Norris Library in advance of a Public Hearing on June 7th. We encourage you to take time to read the Managers Message section of the budget and to submit questions to the Town Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. The budget can be found on the link below and as a part of the Town Council agenda for the May Meeting. You can subscribe to Town Council agendas for all upcoming meetings at https://rutherfordton.civicweb.net/Portal/Subscribe.aspx.