The Holly Springs Town Council adopted the fiscal year 2018-2019 town budget at its June 19 meeting. Also at the meeting, downtown development, assistance for people faced with housing problems, and the transportation bond referendum moved forward, among other business.
The tax rate remains at 43.25 cents per $100 valuation with the budget approved at the meeting. Monthly water and sewer access fees, as well as garbage, recycling and yard waste fees also remain the same. Water and sewer utility use rates will increase 2.68%, a systematic increase reflecting increased costs to supply services.
Interim Town Manager Daniel Weeks said, for a household that uses 5,000 gallons per day, the monthly utility bill would increase about $1.17 with the change. With the increase, the average Holly Springs utility bill remains lower than 50- and 100-mile averages for water and sewer utility providers. Aside from a small increase last year, which corresponded to a pass-through rate increase by the town's water provider, Harnett County, the Town of Holly Springs has not increased utility use rates since the 2010-2011 budget.
The budget includes funding for satellite-read utility meter technology, development software, the Tree City USA Program, an update to the Future Land Use Plan and a new Public Works facility design.
Also at the meeting, the council approved a special exception use allowing for United Community Bank to build a 4,501 square foot, two-story bank building with two drive-through service lanes. The bank, formerly Four Oaks Bank, would be relocating from its current location in the Mims Town Square building near Town Hall to a lot on the corner of Earp and Main streets.
The council directed staff to include language in development requirements to enhance the pedestrian feel of the site and to determine a restorative fine for removal of trees without following timbering ordinance regulations.
The council also approved entering into a cooperation agreement with Wake County for Community Development Block Grant programs to assist people with low and moderate incomes and others faced with housing problems.
While the agreement will give residents access to grants, participating towns receive funds for projects such as sidewalks, water line replacements, road surfacing, spraygrounds/playgrounds and community centers. Developers of affordable housing will be eligible for funding, as well.
The council moved forward with the proposal to take the $40 million transportation bond to the public by introducing a document describing the council’s proposal to issue general obligation bonds to pay capital costs of providing transportation improvements, pending voter approval. If approved by voters, the bonds will be paid with a property tax increase of $.05 per $100 of property assessed. For a $250,000 home, a $.05 tax increase would increase the tax bill by $125 per year.
The council approved an amendment to the town noise ordinance, providing an objective standard for measuring noise to determine if the ordinance is being violated. The amendment also modifies exceptions to the current noise ordinance and updates penalties for noise violations. Police staff discussed the devices that will be used to measure decibel ranges to determine if noises are exceeding the levels allowed by the ordinance.
Also at the meeting, the council also approved a special exception use allowing for Triangle Wine Company to open a 250-square-foot bar/tasting area associated with retail alcohol sales in the Holly Lakes at Sunset Lake Commons development at the intersection of Sunset Lake and Lassiter roads.
The council approved rezoning five Town-owned parcels in the Holly Springs Business Park, together totaling 4.52 aces, to RT: Research and Technology. The parcels generally are vacant and undeveloped, with the exception of the site of the town's reclaimed water tower.
The council approved $15,000 for easement purchases along New Hill Road in preparation for constructing a sidewalk to connect nearby subdivisions with a shopping center.
The council approved a development fee report prepared for the town and incorporated its water and sewer capacity fee structure into the town's operating budget. The report was prepared as a result of the N.C. General Assembly's passage of House Bill 436 regarding the requirements and process for municipalities to formulate and administer development fees.
The council awarded $2,000 in grants to local groups: $1,000 to the Lions Club for enhancements to the Haunted Hayride at Sugg Farm, and $500 to both the Rotary Club for a scholarship program and Interact. Update/clarification: The council, at its June 5 meeting, awarded $500 Interact. With the additional $500 awarded June 19, the agency received a total of $1,000.