WADESBORO — Walmart’s closure in April as well as financial fall-out from North Carolina’s shutdown in response to COVID-19 were the two factors that had the biggest impact on Wadesboro’s budget, according to Town Manager David Edwards during the virtual budget presentation given to the Town Council on Monday, May 18.
“This year, the budget is going to be very different,” said Edwards, “We simply do not know what effects the closure of the largest retailer in the county, Walmart, will have on sales tax revenue.”
The reason behind this uncertainty is a lag in data. “We just got the data for March a week ago,” said Edwards, “So, we’re looking at a ten to twelve-week lag in our data, so we’re not going to know what the closure in April and months following will do for our sales tax until after this budget needs to be adopted, which is unfortunate.”
Edwards said he is personally optimistic that the budget is conservative enough to cover the lost sales tax revenue. “I’m hopeful that we don’t have to miss out on the projected $200 to 250,000 sales tax revenue that I’m budgeting for,” said Edwards, “however, we’re going to move forward under that assumption until we get more data to tell us otherwise.”
The largest ask on the budget is around $60,000 for a $1,000 base salary increase for every full-time Town of Wadesboro employee. “We wanted to try and do something that was disproportionately positive for our employees making less money,” said Edwards.
The pay increase will be three and a half to four percent for employees making $30,000 a year and one to one and half percent for Town employees at the top pay level. A two percent base salary increase for Town Council members was also included within the budget.
It was also revealed that County management is asking for rate increases to be approved in their upcoming budget cycle, and if their requested increases are approved it would cost the Town an additional $150,000 in sewer services alone.
“I would like to see us send a letter to the commissioners requesting a negotiation on that 13 percent increase,” said Councilman John Ballard, “because, to me, that seems awfully high.”
Edwards informed Ballard that, legally, Anson County must provide Wadesboro with ample justification for the rate increase.
Reach Charles Wood at 704 994 5471 or firstname.lastname@example.org