Carroll County Times
Carroll County

No tax hikes in Manchester's approved FY15 budget

MANCHESTER — The Manchester Town Council approved a Fiscal Year 2015 general fund budget with no tax increases at its meeting May 13, maintaining the current tax rate of 21.6 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Manchester Mayor Ryan Warner said that he felt the budget struck a good balance between funding services and keeping taxes low.

“[We] spend a lot of hours and take a lot of care to try and keep the tax rates as low as we can while trying to keep the value of the services as high as we can,” Warner said. “To have a town police department and to do all the things we do, the tax rate really is commendable.”

Ordinance No. 217 was passed unanimously, approving a balanced budget of $2,076,735 for the FY15 general fund, which includes administration, police and fire services, parks, maintenance and stormwater management.

The budget is an overall $27,033 increase over the FY14 budget of $2,049,702, from which the town had a $1 surplus.

Budget items that will see an increase in FY15 are:

Police at $610,840 for FY15 versus $547,940 for FY14

Maintenance at $556,343 for FY15 versus $536,179 for FY14

Zoning at $88,951 for FY15 versus $86,048 for FY14

Parks at $182,630 for FY15 versus $171,706 for FY14

Charlotte’s Quest Nature Center at $11,240 for FY15 versus $5,740 for FY14.

Funding for administration will see a reduction to $215,231 for FY15 versus $258,784 for FY14, as will:

Stormwater management at $35,500 for FY15 versus $78,500 for FY14

Solid waste at $269,425 for FY15 versus $275,153 for FY14

Trees maintenance at $3,000 for FY15 versus $3,720 for FY14

Westside Park and Skate Park at $2,800 for FY15 versus $3,000 for FY14

Although the Manchester FY15 general fund budget was approved, the water and sewer budgets were not and two new ordinances were introduced that propose to increase fees for both utilities.

Ordinance No. 218, if approved, would raise the water rate from $2.75 to $3 per 1,000 gallons.

Ordinance No. 219 would raise sewer rates from their current $5.50 per 1,000 gallons to $5.75 per 1,000 gallons, and increase Warner said was necessary to ensure services can continue.

“The water and sewer rates are enterprise funds meaning they have to balance every year,” Warner said. “We do what we can to keep those low but there is only so much we can do when the cost drivers of treating the water and getting it to the houses and then treating sewer, continue to go up.”

There will be a public hearing on ordinances Nos. 218 and 219 at the Town Council’s next meeting, rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. June 3.