Town Manager Randy Harrington’s recommended 2019-2020 budget invests heavily in public safety and infrastructure while raising the property tax rate solely for transportation bonds that Town voters approved last fall.
The tax rate would rise 5 cents from 43.25 to 48.25 cents per $100 in property valuation. A 5-cent increase was specified in the $40 million bond package that voters passed by a 60-40 margin.
The budget includes small increases - 2 percent or less - in monthly charges for garbage collection and for water and sewer service. The exception is recycling, with global market changes driving up the cost of service. The combined increase solid waste collection and utility service would total $1.90 per month for the typical Holly Springs homeowner.
The Town Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at its May 21 meeting in Town Hall. Council members will hold a May 28 work session on the budget and are scheduled to adopt it June 4. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
The manager’s message reflects the five priority areas of council members’ strategic plan, which they adopted in April. The priority areas are:
- Economic Prosperity & Diversity - Holly Springs provides a climate where a wide variety of businesses thrive with economic opportunity for all.
- Engaged, Healthy & Active Community - Holly Springs promotes fulfilling and rewarding lifestyles with abundant, healthy living options.
- Organizational Excellence - Holly Springs is a leader in responsible government with a high-performing organization that meets the public service needs of its residents
- Responsible & Balanced Growth - Holly Springs will continue to plan for future infrastructure and support a quality, balanced mix of land uses, while preserving its small town charm, characteristics, and history.
- Safe & Friendly - Holly Springs is one of the safest communities in North Carolina with a welcoming spirit and inviting atmosphere.
Public safety is the primary focus of workforce additions. Half of the 22 new positions are in the Police and Fire departments. The proposed budget includes funding for new patrol cars and police radios and to replace a 1995 model fire truck.
Council approval of the Carolina Springs development on May 7 opens the way for preliminary design of a new fire station. The nearly 400-acre development northwest of town at U.S. 1 includes a site for a permanent Station 3 to replace temporary quarters in a house on Friendship Road.
Other infrastructure needs include replacement of a severely inadequate Public Works facility and more investment in the storm water system, which is experiencing increased maintenance needs. The proposed budget includes $250,000 for flood prone areas and other drainage system priorities plus $25,000 toward a new watershed management plan.
The proposed budget includes funding to begin design on a new Public Works campus and to replace trucks for yard waste pickup and leaf collection. Facility site selection and construction are further down the road.
Planning and design has begun on the initial transportation bond projects. During the upcoming fiscal year, the Town will seek partnerships with the N.C. Department of Transportation for some of the bond projects. The intent is to leverage bond funds to obtain road improvements valued at much more than the Town’s $40 million investment.
In addition to transportation bonds, the Town has $8 million remaining in parks and recreation bonds that were authorized in 2011. During the past year, council members have expressed an intent to use remaining bonds for greenways and other improvements to parks.
To continue building Holly Springs’ reputation as an employer of choice, the proposed budget includes a 1.6 percent cost-of-living increase plus a 3.25 percent merit pay pool.