Advance fire tax OKd

Published 8:57 am Friday, June 14, 2019

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County commissioners adopted a $77 million fiscal year budget last week, including an extra 2.34-cent increase for property owners in the Advance Fire Tax District.

Commissioners first met as the Davie County Fire Protection Tax District Commission, established after voters in the Advance fire district approved establishing a tax district to help pay for fire protection services.

Advance Fire Chief Rodney Miller requested a $.234 rate, which was approved by the board as the fire commission on a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Mark Jones and Benita Finney voted against the proposal.

It was later approved by the board acting as commissioners on a 4-1 vote, with Finney casting the no vote as the county adopted the budget for the next fiscal year.

There is no tax increase for residents in all other areas of the county, although water and sewer rates will increase some 2.25 percent in July.

County Manager John Eller said department heads are embracing the performance based budgeting process, which focuses on data rather than desires.

The county continues to try to maintain a “vibrant, prosperous and dynamic community … with superior public service,” he said, while focusing the budget on five key areas: safe and healthy communities, growth and infrastructure, business opportunities, quality of life, and education.

The county is absorbing a 2 percent increase in healthcare costs for employees, part of the effort to keep staff salaries competitive, Eller said.

The county is getting close to its minimum fund balance of 25 percent, and must make $400,000 more than expenditures to keep it at that rate, said Robin West, finance director. If it dips below the 25 percent, the county must develop a plan to get it above that threshhold, which is approximately three months worth of operating expenses.