Approved fee schedule includes increases

By Wendy Byerly Wood -

Residents of Yadkin County can expect no increase in county property taxes for the 2018-19 fiscal year if commissioners approve the county manager’s proposed budget, but the elected officials did adjust some charges on the county’s fee schedule Monday. Also, the proposed budget includes increases in the fire tax rate in two districts.

Lindsey Cearlock, county finance officer, went over several changes proposed in the fee schedule for the coming fiscal year during Monday morning’s county commissioners meeting.

Those changes include adjusting some of the fees associated with emergency medical services based on Medicaid reimbursement rates, as well as adjusting rates for some parks and recreation services after Jason Walker, parks and rec director, investigated similar costs at surrounding counties, Cearlock said.

“We’ve not raised fees in some time and we’ve added lots of new services,” Cearlock said of parks and recreation. She added the increases were not huge increases, instead just meant to bring them in line with others in the region.

Solid waste is another area facing increases. County Manager Lisa Hughes explained in her proposed budget that the cost for the transfer station and collection site pick-ups continues to increase while revenues have not been increasing.

To cover the increasing expenses, the board approved the proposed fee schedule which includes Hughes’ recommended increase in the landfill tipping fee from $60 to $70 per ton. This is the second year these fees have increase, she said. Also, the minimum fee transfer station will now be $8, a $1 increase over 2017-18.

Those fee changes will take effect July 1 with the new fiscal year.

Hughes recommended the county property tax rate remain at 66 cents per $100 valuation, which will help provide revenue toward the county’s $40,168,438 annual budget. The general fund, which includes property taxes, makes up $36,607,281 of the more than $40 million budget.

A proposal has been made that $1,632,458 be used from the county’s fund balance, or rainy day fund, to balance the 2018-19 budget.

The proposed budget also takes into account a projected 5.9-percent increase in sales tax revenue for the upcoming year, with a total revenue of $6,460,000.

Each fire district has its own established fire tax to help cover the costs of buildings, trucks, maintenance, fuel and other expenses. The county contracts with the fire departments for services, and in turn the fire department boards request tax rates for each district, which are set by the county commissioners.

Seven of the 10 fire districts requested tax rate increases, but Hughes is only recommending two increases be approved and only one of those at the rate requested.

Boonville (now receiving 7.3 cents per $100 valuation), Courtney (8 cents), Fall Creek (6 cents) and West Yadkin (8.7 cents) requested 1-cent increases, while Yadkinville (6.5 cents) requested at half-cent increase. None of those requests have been included in the proposed budget.

East Bend Fire Department requested an increase from 6.8 cents per $100 valuation to 7.25 cents, a request that is being recommended for approval. Forbush Fire Department requested a 1.5-cent increase to 8.5 cents, but Hughes is recommending a half-cent increase from 7 cents to 7.5 cents.

Departments which did not request increases included Arlington (8 cents), Buck Shoals (5 cents) and Lone Hickory (7.5 cents).

Fire rates will not be set until the budget is approved by the county commissioners, with a vote anticipated after the public hearing on the budget, which is scheduled for June 12 at 7 p.m. at the county administrative offices in Yadkinville.

In other business during Monday’s meeting of the county commissioners, the board:

• Adopted the recommended 2018-19 Board of Health Handook.

• Approved a budget amendment for $162,500 to purchase five law enforcement vehicles to replace others.

• Approved a budget amendment for a $2,031 grant awarded from the Carolina Bird Club to provide signage at Yadkin County’s parks. The money will be received and spent prior to June 30.

• Adopted a resolution authorizing electronic payments by county staff, a new state requirement.

• Approved a payment for a prior year invoice and ratification of an amount paid prematurely for services rendered by the Children’s Home Society.

• Gave Hughes permission to sublet, with Dr. Lori Petree’s permission, a space in the county’s dental clinic for Deborah Taylor to operate a dental assistant academy.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

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