Board Approves Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18
The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners approved a budget totaling $22.8 million in operating expenses for Fiscal Year 2017-18 during its regular meeting Monday night.
A public hearing was held May 22. The budget will become effective July 1, when the town’s new fiscal year starts. The budget includes:
- $10.4 million in expenses in the General Fund.
- $11.8 million in expenses in the Water/Sewer Fund.
- About $600,000 in expenses in the stormwater utility fund.
Rates and fees
The approved budget includes:
- Decreasing the property tax rate from 68 cents per $100 valuation to 62 cents. An adjustment to 62.16 cents would have created a revenue-neutral rate following Orange County’s tax revaluation. The slight decrease to 62 cents will generate about $15,000 less in revenue for the town. Fiscal Year 2018 will be the fifth consecutive year without a tax rate increase.
- Making no change in the water and sewer rates or the stormwater fee. Water rates were last raised in July 2012 while sewer rates were last raised in July 2016.
- Increasing the vehicle fee for citizens from $10 to $30 to help fund the town’s annual street resurfacing program. The fee had been $10 since it was instituted 25 years ago. Street repaving is projected to cost about $370,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. Increasing the vehicle fee will yield an additional $100,000 for a total of $152,640 per year.
The approved budget increases personnel slightly and makes equipment and facility improvements. Highlights include:
- Expanding and renovating the Town Hall Campus for an estimated $1.23 million. The North Campus Project will include moving the town’s finance and billing operations from downtown Churton Street and moving the town’s meeting room from the Town Barn to property located across from the Town Hall Campus. The current meeting room will be converted into needed office space.
- Building a fiber loop, public works facility and welding shop; designing and building Phase 2 of the West Fork Eno Reservoir; and designing a rail station and an addition to the water distribution and wastewater collection facility. Estimated cost: $12.8 million.
- Replacing four police vehicles and adding six to start an individually assigned vehicle program in the Police Department; replacing a dump trunk and tanker in the Utilities Department; replacing the remaining half of police hand-held radios and adding units for backup and reserve officers; and replacing a water main on Churton Street. Estimated cost: $845,000.
- Adding one position each to the police and utilities departments; adding one part-time position to the Fire Marshal’s Office; and splitting the cost of three new positions at Orange Rural Fire Department, from which the town contracts fire service. Estimated cost: $156,000.
The budget also includes Hillsborough’s balanced scorecard, a system of measures that the town uses to implement its objectives. The system is used as part of the annual budget process to implement and communicate the Board of Commissioners’ mission, vision, strategic priorities and core values. The budget includes departmental scorecards and departmental maps of top priorities and step-by-step ways to achieve goals.