Orange County

Why Carrboro taxes may go up, a little, next year

Carrboro property owners could see a slight tax increase next year to help make the town a more affordable place for others to live.

The proposed $22.8 million operating budget presented by Town Manager David Andrews would raise the town tax rate a half-cent per $100 of assessed value., or by $15 on a $300,000 house.

That would generate about $112,500 for the town's dedicated Affordable Housing Fund, according to Carrboro Finance Director Arche McAdoo. The town also wants two more half-cent increases in future years, according to the proposal. Currently, the fund has about $225,000.

The proposed budget increases overall general fund spending by less than $25,000. It shifts spending in some areas and cuts it in others. The budget proposal is almost flat compared with the 2017-18 plan since the property tax increase would not go into the general fund.

The town anticipates receiving $11.9 million in property taxes, $4.5 million in sales taxes and $6.4 million in all other revenues. for general fund spending.

State law requires municipalities to adopt a balanced budget before June 30.

The town maintains a $2.1 million Special Revenue Fund, a $900,000 Stormwater Enterprise Fund and a $23.4 million Capital Fund. The Special Revenue fund pays for requests with a specific purpose or activity, which are usually related to grant requests, McAdoo said. The Stormwater Enterprise Fund will be funded through fees collected by the town and used to address stormwater runoff. The Capital Fund pays for large projects like the upcoming 203 Greensboro St., project in partnership with Orange County and the ArtsCenter.

The town plans to increase its workforce by one employee by adding two positions and cutting one. It is looking to add a project manager working under the town manager and an accounting technician/receptionist in the finance department., while a human resources specialist position is being eliminated.

The proposed budget has a 3 percent cost-of-living increase spread between salaries and benefits for town employees. But that will be offset by a projected 15 percent increase in health insurance premiums.

Carrboro's proposed community spending has the ArtsCenter receiving $20,000 again as well as an increase of more than $5,000 each for El Centro Hispano ($42,557) and for the Orange County Food Council ($8,750). It also proposes a transfer $30,000 to the town's Affordable Housing Fund.

The Board of Aldermen will hold its first budget work session on May 15 and a public hearing is scheduled for May 22. The budget likely will be adopted at their June 19 meeting.