By Jackie Seabolt
COOLEEMEE - The town’s police force is being cut from five to four full-time officers, after commissioners adopted the 2012-2013 budget at a special called meeting and public hearing last week.
Police Chief Bobby West said that he hopes to make up for the loss of an officer by using reserve officers, part-time employees, and making scheduling changes.
“The effect of losing an officer will be felt,” Mayor Lynn Rumley said. “In turn, it’s up to us to help the chief. We’re sorry to put you in this position, but we’ll work hard to get you out of this position.”
Town Clerk John Chandler presented the budget on June 26 and told board members it was balanced at $702,054 and included no tax increases.
“The tax rate for the town of Cooleemee remains unchanged,” Chandler said. “The tax rate is proposed to be .38¢ per $100 valuation.”
Chandler said that the budget reflected the top objectives identified by commissioners:
• to continue to support the police department as its largest expenditure;
• to continue code enforcement;
• to embark on the design phase of the Cooleemee Cotton Mill Project;
• to continue to expand recreation and efforts to create a Cooleemee pool and splash park;
• to strengthen communication with residents through the Cooleemee Times newsletter and development of a phone tree and email alerts;
• to continue delivering essential services like garbage collection and street lights.
Chandler said the state’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, but that Davie has recruited new manufacturing jobs in the last six months.
“The unemployment rate in Cooleemee remains at 16 percent,” Chandler said. “These conditions suggest that there will be little growth in state collected revenues during the fiscal year. With a Davie County revaluation coming in 2013, property tax revenues are expected to fall moderately. With less revenues than expected for the last three years, the town has had to make some adjustments that hurt ...