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Property tax increase of 30-32 cents possible for town

The town of Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen continued budget talks for the 2015-2016 fiscal year on Thursday, June 25.
According to documents provided at the meeting, a property-tax increase is looming for the town. While it is not at the earlier projected 81 cents, an increase of 23 cents was pegged during the onset of discussions.
Going into Thursday’s work session, officials had not allocated funds for welfare and social services demographic of the budget, except for the animal welfare board, emergency dispatch service and funding for the U.C. Public Library.
Alderman Virgil Moore expressed concern to open the meeting, stating that cutting funding to different programs, like the Monroe Foundation, Senior Adult Center and Health Department, could be a negative for the town moving forward.
“We’ve been funding these programs for all these years,” Moore said. “Then just to say we’re cutting it out, I feel like we should still give them something.”
The idea received support from each town official in attendance, including Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley. Later in the meeting, Hensley did tell officials that funding each program part of that demographic would increase the potential 23-cent increase projection to a higher amount.
After deliberation from officials, it was agreed on the each group program would receive half of their funding from the previous year. The total increase with money going into each program for 2015-2016 is slated to move the additional expenses for next year to $69,900, City Recorder Glenn Rosenoff added, with the potential of having between a 30 to 32 cent property tax increase.
Rosenoff stated that going into the new year, an increase in pay would be inevitable but negotiations by the town with Humana nixed a potential 14-percent increase in healthcare costs down to 6.8 percent, saving the town over $20,000 worth of expenses.
Optimism is shown for the upcoming year due to a potential increase with sales tax, department expenditures coming in under budget and new businesses coming into the area.
Vice-mayor Gary Edwards talked to the board at the end of the meeting and discussed that while taxes aren’t popular, he’s had the opportunity to get out and talk with citizens.
“I think people are starting to understand the situation,” Edwards said. “We’ve got to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in. We have to be a team on this and start planning for the future and bite the bullet.”
BMA officials are set to meet again on the 2015-2016 budget projections and an exact amount for a tax increase on Thursday, July 2, at 3:30 p.m., at Town Hall.