Both the Wadesboro town council and the Anson County Board of Commissioners passed their respective Fiscal Year 2017-18 budgets in meetings earlier this month.
The commissioners unanimously approved the county’s budget after months of work.
“The budget makes critical investments in the key areas of employee retention, capital improvements and fiscal responsibility,” county manager Megan Garner said in a press release announcing the adoption of the budget. “It also reflects the commissioners’ desire to avoid burdening the citizens of Anson County while providing quality services.”
Among other changes, the new budget does include water and wastewater fee increases. The current residential rate of $12 per first 2,000 gallons will now go to $13. Other tiers divided by gallons for residential and industrial customers will also increase in price.
The sewer rate for residential and industrial users will also increase for each tier. The first residential tier of 2,000 gallons will also go from $12 to $13.
The Anson County Transportation System will receive a new billing method that will use a direct-miles billing system that will charge riders based on the number of miles they travel.
The fire district tax rate for every fire district but Wadesboro’s will be raised to $0.083.
In the release, Garner pointed out that the budget maintains the current county tax rate and the Wadesboro fire district tax rate, employees will receive a 5 percent cost-of-living increase effective July 2, full-time county employees will still receive health insurance through the N.C. State Health Plan and that the county has not decreased services for county residents.
Three new staff positions — for a public health educator, deputy fire marshal and GIS analyst — will also be added.
Earlier this year, the town announced that it would likely raise its water and sewer rates if the county raised theirs, since the town purchases water from the county. Although the original budget had the FY 2016-17 water and sewer rates included in it, it was tentative.
When the board approved its budget on June 20, it approved the increase. Tiers, divided by the number of gallons used, will each go up for residential and industrial customers.
The minimum bill for customers in the city limits using up to 2,000 gallons of water will go up from $17 to $17.28, a 1.65 percent increase. Sewer rates for those inside the city limits using up to 3,000 gallons will go from $30.31 to $31.31.
The minimum water and sewer combined bill for those inside the city limits will increase from $47.41 to $48.59, an increase of $1.18 or 2.49 percent.
During the meeting on June 20, the council decided to purchase a used fire truck for $120,000. With taxes and the cost to purchase equipment for the truck, the total will come to about $134,200.
To pay for the truck, the council used $84,200 from the town’s fund balance and moved $50,000 from the water and sewer fund. The council had planned to use $30,000 to purchase an exhaust system for the new Wadesboro Fire Department building currently being constructed, but opted to put the money towards the truck. Town manager Alex Sewell and Wadesboro Fire Chief Marc Sessions said that the lack of an exhaust system will not cause property damage or health risks, and Sessions recommended the purchase of the truck.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.