Orange County

Hillsborough Board of Commissioners to host public budget hearing Monday

The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners has received an updated proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year and is seeking public input on the plan during a hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, May 22 in the Town Barn, 101 E. Orange St., on the Town Hall campus.

A draft budget workbook and three-year financial plan was first presented to the board in February and reviewed at a March 11 budgetary planning retreat. The board is expected to vote on the budget in June.

Under the revised draft plan, the town’s operating expenses would total $22.7 million, featuring:

▪  $10.4 million in expenses in the General Fund, an increase of 5.2 percent from fiscal year 2017.

▪  $11.7 million in expenses in the Water/Sewer Fund, a decrease of 5.6 percent from FY17.

▪  About $600,000 in expenses in the stormwater utility fund, an increase of 0.8 percent from FY17.

The draft budget also includes:

▪  Making no change in the property tax rate or water and sewer rates. This would be the fifth consecutive year without a tax rate increase. Water rates were last raised in July 2012 while sewer rates were last raised in July 2016.

▪  Increasing the vehicle fee for citizens from $10 to $30 to help fund the town’s annual street resurfacing program. The fee has been $10 since it was instituted 25 years ago. Street repaving is projected to cost about $380,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. Increasing the vehicle fee would yield an additional $100,000 for a total of $152,640 per year.

▪  Expanding and renovating the Town Hall Campus for an estimated $1.3 million. The North Campus Project would include moving the town’s finance and billing operations from downtown Churton Street and moving the town’s meeting room from the Town Barn to property located across from the Town Hall Campus. The current meeting room would be converted into needed office space.

▪  Providing individually assigned vehicles to police officers to help the department remain competitive in recruiting and retaining officers and to help ensure an adequate number of vehicles during large public events and emergencies. The estimated cost for six vehicles to start the Individually Assigned Vehicle Program is about $285,000. The total cost for replacing four aging police vehicles and adding six to the fleet would be $460,000.

Balanced scorecard

Hillsborough uses a balanced scorecard system of measures to implement its objectives. The system is used as part of the annual budget process to implement and communicate the Board of Commissioners’ mission, vision, strategic priorities and core values. In addition to departmental scorecards, departments also have mapped top priorities and step-by-step ways to achieve goals.

Residents are invited to ask questions and share their thoughts on the proposed budget at Monday’s public hearing or by calling Hillsborough Budget Director Emily Bradford at 919-296-9427.