No increase in taxes with Erwin’s approved budget

Includes full-time planner, code enforcement position

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Residents of the town of Erwin will see no change in taxes with the approval of the new fiscal year budget for 2019-2020. Property tax rates will remain at 60 1/2 cents for every $100 worth of property.

The rate includes a contribution to the Erwin Fire Department based on a 9 1/2 cents tax rate, which is also set to continue without an increase.

The Erwin Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the budget during their regular monthly meeting June 6 in the town hall meeting room. Mayor Patsy Carson was not in attendance.

The general fund for the operation of the town for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2020, comes in balancing at $3,408,961.

Commissioner William Turnage commended Town Manager Snow Bowden and his staff for their hard work compiling the budget.

A highlight of the document is the creation of a position for a town planner/code enforcement officer.

“Some of the goals of that planner will be to update our coding ordinance,” Bowden said.

The town will also contract with a company, NFOCUS, who will send someone once a week throughout the fiscal year to work with the new planner and code enforcement officer.

“The employee from NFOCUS should be able to help whomever is selected as the new town planner as we try to make improvements to the town,” Bowden said in his budget message.

The new budget includes a 1.5% cost of living allowance raise for all town employees.

There is $20,000 in the budget for improvements to the Erwin Community Building and upgrading the landscaping at town hall.

Vehicle fees will increase to $7 per vehicle.

“The revenue from this source along with Powell Bill funding should allow us to do more road work than we currently do,” Bowden reported.

The storm water fee increased by $1.

“The revenue from this source will help us do more storm water projects in the future,” Bowden noted.

The town has an agreement with Waste Industries to provide trash and recycling collection for residents. The company’s rates are going up 2.5%, which will cost residents an extra 18 cents per container for trash collection a month and 8 cents per recycling containers.

The budget does not add any additional officers to the police department. It does, however, include two higher level positions. It calls for a senior patrol officer on each squad.

“The goal of this is to ensure that there is always some sort of supervisor on a shift,” Bowden reported. “It will also give younger officers a more achievable goal as they try to grow in the current career paths.”

In his message, Bowden said, “Town staff has worked persistently in trying to reduce expenses and save as much revenue that is possible for the town.”

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