The managers recommended budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022, and ending June 30, 2022, was formally presented to the Rutherfordton Town Council on May 4, 2022, following North Carolina General Statutes. However, in keeping with our desire to have an informed public, the manager’s recommended budget is available now for public review. The Town operating budget represents more than the allocation of funds to the Town’s operations, it sets the tone for the goals, visions, and priorities of our community.
The Managers Recommended Budget represents our community’s commitment to creating & maintain partnerships, hiring and retaining the best team, investing in capital, improving operational efficiencies, and setting clear community-based goals. The past year has brought forth new and complex issues for the Town to deal with including record-setting inflation, high consumer price indexes, and an ever-changing labor market, however, the team at Rutherfordton continues to deliver high-quality services.
The Manager’s Recommended General Fund Budget totals $4,727,767 which represents an effective increase of 11.34% from the prior unamended budget. This change represents an increase in operations of near 7% commensurate with inflation and 13% in personnel for both compensation and benefits. We have seen a rise in sales tax, electric sales tax, and property tax over the last year to help with these rising costs, however, an adjustment to the tax rate in line with inflation of $.05 will be required to maintain Town operations. We are also proposing to increase the curbside collection fee from its current monthly rate of $7.80 to $10.80 as part of a 5-year plan to seek full cost recovery in this operation. This proposal increases the tax rate from $.54 to $.59 of $100 of valuation.
The prior budget included projects like Ruffton Roots, the Urban Redevelopment Commission, seeking funding for Fire Station #2, and commitment to long-range utility operations that have begun to set a framework for a more robust Rutherfordton. As we embark on a new budget, we are continually seeking new ways for the Town to serve, grow, and establish long-term viability as the gold standard in local government for our region. This budget aims to continue looking at enterprise functions of the Town towards ensuring programs like sewer operations, trash, and recycling services are supported 100% through user fees by those using the services. Further, the budget sets a direction for our staff to ensure that we are recruiting, retaining, and properly compensating the team that serves this Town each day. In the current regional market, this has become increasingly difficult and this budget represents a major step to ensuring that each team member is compensated at or above the regional market rate for their contributions to making Rutherfordton a great place to live, work, and play. While the general operating future of the Town is set by this budget the Town is strongly leveraging grant resources to improve the community.
The proposed budget is available for public review on the Town of Rutherfordton website at www.rutherfordton.net or in person at either Town Hall. The Town Council will hold a Budget Workshop on May 18th at 5 pm at Town Hall. A public hearing will be held on June 1, 2022, at 5:30 pm. Citizens are encouraged to review the proposed budget and submit comments to the Town Manager or attend these meetings. The Town of Rutherfordton provides service forged at the highest standard from all departments and that quality standard is rooted in the financial stability of our budget process.