ROCKINGHAM — City residents won’t see an increase in taxes, but will experience a hike in garbage fees.
The Rockingham City Council on Tuesday approved the municipal budget for fiscal year 2023-2024, which begins July 1. The General Fund budget is balanced at $11,542,009 and the Enterprise Fund at $7,751160.
In his budget message, City Manager Monty Crump says the $2 increase in garbage fees will generate around $68,500 in extra revenue — for a total of $1,033,500 — “and move paying for Sanitation Service to being closer to self-supporting thus not requiring other subsidy.”
The $1,514,300 Sanitation budget, which accounts for 13% of the General Fund budget, will still require a $480,000 subsidy “from other revenue sources,” according to Crump.
The tax rate will also stay parked at $0.58 per $100 of valuation. The city raised the rate from $0.48 per $100 in 2020 when the Richmond County Board of Commissioners changed the way sales taxes are distributed, which Crump referenced in his message.
“Revenues overall have held their own while the City still works to replace the growth in total sales tax loss …,” Crump said.
The county’s budget, approved a week before, will offer $728,910 in aid to be split among the six municipalities.
“While revenues have been relatively stable, the City is experiencing the increased cost in labor, materials, supplies and fuel across the board,” added Crump. That sentiment was reflected by both the county and Hamlet.
Water fees rates also stay the same.
Like the county and Hamlet, Rockingham will be providing a 4% cost-of-living increase to city employees.
As in previous years, public safety accounts for nearly half of the city’s General Fund budget, with the Rockingham Police and Fire departments making up 32% and 13%, respectively.
The police department will be getting five new patrol vehicles ($180,000) and the equipment for those vehicles ($50,000), an unspecified number of bullet-proof vests ($6,500) and an upgrade to the telephone recording system ($10,000).
Capital outlay appropriations for the fire department include hoses and nozzles, new helmets, and the replacement of air packs ($45,000) and extrication tools ($26,000).
Other major capital outlay expenses include a rear-loader garbage truck ($235,500), the debt service on the downtown Richmond Community College building ($264,834), a new roof for the fire department ($100,000), field equipment for Parks and Recreation ($50,000), and several other vehicles.