To the Taxpayers of Rocky Mount, NC…How much more are you willing to pay?

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How much more are you willing to pay?

The proposed 2018-19 budget by the Rocky Mount City Manager includes a $5.8 million increase. That’s a 9.13% increase from the current budget! It also includes an additional 3.8% property tax rate increase… an 18% increase over a five year period.

 

The FY 2019 proposed budget for the City of Rocky Mount calls for a 3.8% property tax rate increase and increases spending by 9.13%.  If approved the tax rate for Rocky Mount will have increased  13.22% ($0.605 to $0.685) since 2017.$2,028,530 of the increase is to pay for the Rocky Mount Event Center while the rest is to fund thirteen new positions which includes the creation of a third Assistant City Manager.  When the Event Center was proposed experts, hired by the city, calculated the need for three increases (2016-$0.025;  2019-$0.01;  and 2020 $0.03) by 2020 totaling $0.065.

Recently there has been talk of a parking garage that should have been included in the original plans.  Interesting the budget states an “unfunded” capital project of a $4.5 Million Downtown Pedestrian Bridge.  Is this in addition to the likely $10 to $20 Million parking garage?

Please read below the excerpt from the City of Rocky Mount proposed budget to council:

General Fund Overview
The Proposed FY 2019 General Fund Budget is $69,361,160, an increase of 9.1% ($5,801,730) compared to the FY 2018 Adopted General Fund Budget. Existing operations of the City’s general government departments are funded in this proposed budget, along with the following specific increases:

Rocky Mount Event Center ($2,028,530): The proposed budget includes funding of principal and interest payments of the facility’s debt service (requiring proposed tax rate increase), as well as facility management and operations (utilizing facility revenues and fund reserves).

Roof Replacements ($965,000): Financing will be used to fund critical replacement of roofs at the Judicial Center and Senior Center.

Community & Business Development: ($731,630): The centralization of existing activities within this new department are appropriated in their entirety for Fiscal Year 2019, as well as the full-year expenses of new staffing and increased focus on business development and the City’s $500,000 annual housing grant program initiated earlier this fiscal year.

Information Technology ($715,000): The proposed budget includes appropriations for proposed staff increases, as well as increased spending on software, hardware and network improvements.

City Hall Repairs ($413,000): Our primary offices and operations facility is more than 35 years old and in need of considerable repairs, which have been appropriated in the proposed budget. These include repair of stairwells, addressing water intrusion, replacement of public elevators and crack sealing and restriping of the parking lot.

Fire CIP Projects ($353,000): In prior years, Fire facility CIP projects were appropriated in the General Capital Fund. This year, these projects are moved to the General Fund, along with revenues formerly projected and applied to the General Capital Fund to help offset the expense.

Motor Vehicle Replacements ($307,500): The proposed budget includes a noticeable increase in light vehicle replacement to address an aging fleet in several departments, reduce maintenance costs and enhance employee safety. This includes full funding of scheduled vehicle replacement for Police, and increased vehicle replacements for Fire.

Douglas Block Repairs ($300,000): With the City taking ownership of this property in the past year, these appropriations cover activities related to ongoing maintenance of these properties ($65,000) and addressing specific building repair, primarily addressing water intrusion.

Parks CIP Projects ($215,000): In prior years, Parks CIP projects were appropriated in the General Capital Fund. This year, these projects are moved to the General Fund, along with revenues formerly projected and applied to the General Capital Fund to help offset the expense.

Development Services One-Stop Shop ($212,000): Following relocation of Business Office operations to their new Customer Service Center, across the street from City Hall, their former facilities will be renovated into a combined, ground floor location for handling intake and review of plans, inspections and permits. Additional funding is also included for providing upfit of repurposed space on the second floor for Community & Business Development.

Human Resources ($185,000): Funds are included for full-year staffing of new Assistant Director of Human Resources and Wellness Coordinator.

Third Assistant City Manager ($124,000): If adopted, this position is scheduled for hiring around October 1, 2018. This position will be assigned multiple departments as part of a transition to enable each Assistant City Manager to better supervise assigned departments, and enable greater coordination of individual department programs and activities with my intent to emphasize importance of citywide goals and objectives, especially those of the Mayor & Council.

Communications & Marketing ($104,060): The proposed budget includes full funding of position adjustments and increases made last fall. Additional funding is available in this budget, across multiple funds, to cover the cost of replacing logos and decals on City buildings and vehicles, which are part of overall rebranding efforts.

Battle Park ($100,000): Funding is proposed for development of a Master Plan for redevelopment of Battle Park and its connection to Thelonious Monk Park and Trail.

Additional Staffing ($95,000): The proposed budget includes promoting the part-time Internal Auditor Assistant to full-time, and hiring two additional employees for building maintenance

Inspections Staffing ($70,000): Adjustments have been made in the proposed budget to continue funding for full staffing of the Inspections Division of the Department of Development Services. Parks & Recreation/Boys & Girls Club HERO Program ($50,000): Funding is proposed for expanding this program at South Rocky Mount Community Center ($75,000 total).

Event Center Sponsorships ($30,000): Funding in the Mayor & Council Division is proposed to provide an allowance for the Council to approve sponsorship of community events at the Event Center, which will still require payment for services to the facility.

Community Events ($24,000): Funding is proposed to increase support for several community events and programs sponsored by the City.

Community Conversations ($10,000): This initiative, requested by City Council, is underway and will be supervised by the Department of Human Relations.

These specific adjustments listed above reflect more than $7 million. In order to cover these targeted increases to appropriations, as well as offset the 5% increase in City contributions to health insurance and other necessary expenses, staff identified approximately $2 million in reductions in other accounts.

The proposed budget for the General Fund is balanced primarily through the proposed increase in property tax rates (for Event Center debt service), along with a modest increase in revenue projections for local option sales tax, incorporation of revenues previous accounted for in the General Capital Fund, significant improvement in revenues from interest return on General Fund assets. Proceeds from financing are also increased, primarily to handle roof replacement and improvements at City Hall.

Increased transfers reflect the availability to transfer funds from the Gas Fund, which was not possible for FY 2018. In addition, approximately $1.14 million in revenue from the Rocky Mount Event Center is projected. No change in the appropriation of fund balance compared to our FY 2018 Adopted Budget is required.

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Discussion

  1. MICHAEL B JONES  June 3, 2018

    I want to know who with the City Government profited, either monetarily or other benefits from the construction of the Event Center. It has been projected and reported that the Center will lose money during its first 10 years. The Citizens of Rocky Mount did not have any say in the planning, funding or construction. But, now we are going to have to pay for what I am afraid is going to be an Albatross hanging around the citizens’ necks for a long time to come.

    An audit of the entire process from by a State-appointed Inspector General should be accomplished. To assure this Center is above board, and not under the table.

    (reply)
    • Evelyn Rogers  June 4, 2018

      I agree Michael! This monster has gotten completely out of hand. All the City officials that voted on this building should be made to pay for the entire thing, with no help from taxpayers. The taxpayers had no say so and shouldn’t have to pay for this. All we’ve asked for, year after year, is for better police protection from gangs and criminals in Rocky Mount, but as crimes get worse by the week, we keep hearing of more and more expense planned for this stupid building, that will never be utilized.. You say more parking is needed, I say wait until you’ve filled the 400 parks you already have, before even considering wasting more of our tax dollars. As far for a BRIDGE TO WALK ACROSS, that is ludicrous. Folks, we live in Rocky Mount, not San Francisco!!!!!! The nuts on the City Council throwing away or money need to go!!!!!!! Their pride is a lot bigger than their brains!!!!!!!!!!

      (reply)
    • Sylvia Sutton  June 7, 2018

      I agree with Mr. Jones. An audit of the entire process by a state-appointed IG should indeed take place.
      The budget is outrageous! Empty real estate on practically every corner, foreclosures through the roof, closed businesses, major retailers having pulled out should reinforce the reality of our situation. We CANNOT afford higher taxes. Here’s a thought: re-evaluate the city payroll.

      My family CANNOT afford higher taxes. We are retired military and have lived all over the country. Rocky Mount is the ONLY place we’ve lived that requires city AND county taxes on property. The crime-rate is staggering and utilities are more than most big cities. Wwe are certainly weighing our options of renting out or selling.

      I’m sure many residents of Rocky Mount would appreciate knowing who will benefit from the Event Center.

      (reply)
  2. Geeg  June 7, 2018

    I just bought a home hear last year and I am wondering why the utility cost are so outrageous especially in the winter months I owned a home in Pennsylvania before moving here. yes I know about the water and sewage being combined but and also about how Rocky Mount and a few other counties has to pay for a Nuclear reactor and that’s part of the is being filtered to the residents also for Rocky Mount to have less than 60,000 residents the City council as well as the new positions being created they are making big city pay and forcing what they want on the residents are theses contractors kicking back money to some of them someone is benefiting and it’s not the citizens the city council is supposed to work for us not the other way around we have the power to make change let’s ask the state to investigate and let’s get the council out who ignore us and bring in some new blood. whi understand they work for the residents of it sounds a little blunt my apologies but I strongly feel someone is getting a kickback and they are not even asking us what we want they are telling us what we need and then were stuck with the bill

    (reply)

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