Bermuda Run budget shows 8% reduction

Published 11:15 am Thursday, April 22, 2021

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By Jim Buice

Enterprise Record

BERMUDA RUN – When it came time to put together the 2021-22 fiscal year budget, Town Manager Lee Rollins was looking at a different set of numbers from the previous year.

Instead of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and so much uncertainty, Rollins spoke in last week’s  council meeting of a projected 6 percent to 8 percent increase in the assessed valuation of property as of Jan. 1, 2021, due to the Davie County revaluation – as he presented a balanced budget of $1.8 million for the General Fund.

The 2020-21 fiscal year budget called for an 8 percent overall reduction from the previous year.

As of the time of his budget message, Rollins said that the appeal process for revaluation is still in place. The last revaluation was in 2017, and he added that he has seen an 8 percent increase overall in ad valorem tax revenues since that time.

“From our last revaluation, with real property exclusions, exemptions and deferments, for a number of different reasons, there has been a 13 percent increase over the last four years of allowable exclusions and deferments,” Rollins said. “I only say that because I don’t want us to focus solely on what our residents have paid.”

Ad valorem tax revenues are budgeted at $890,000 for the next fiscal year based on property tax revenues of $825,000 and motor vehicle taxes of $65,000. Rollins said that property tax revenues “represent 49 percent of the budget, so when you think of property tax revenues being close to half of the primary source of the revenue stream, I’ll remind you that $540,000, of that, or 61 percent, goes back into street maintenance.”

Sales tax revenue projections are $340,000 for the next fiscal year predicated on the past eight months of sales tax revenues that the town received from the state.

“Fortunately, people continued to spend, even during the pandemic,” Rollins said. “So that was helpful.”

In other highlights from the general fund budget, $279,543 has been designated for residential trash and recycle pickup. In 2020, Davie County reported that it was one of only three counties in the state that provided recycling as a county service; so in consultation with Bermuda Run, Cooleemee and Mocksville, an agreement was reached with Republic Services for recycling to continue as a “bundled package” with trash pick-up.

Rollins said that Bermuda Run has also designated $93,000 for the fourth year of the Community Officer Program’s five-year agreement to reimburse the Davie County Sheriff’s Department.

The Gate Operations Fund, which receives revenues from “gate fees” assessed to parcels of property that are behind the gated portions of the town, is proposed to balance at $566,017 again after last year’s increase.

The Utilities Fund remains unchanged and is proposed to balance at $530,850. The projection is based on mirroring the rates Davie County Public Utilities has set for East Davie sewer customers so that all town residents pay the same rates for water and sewer.

The council voted to approve a recommendation by Rollins to hold a public hearing on the budget at its next meeting on May 11 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

• Also in last Tuesday night’s meeting, the Council heard a presentation on the Davie County Bike/Ped/Greenways Master Plan by Paul Moore, who provided an overview of the county’s recently adopted master plan.

Moore, who is the county’s Recreation and Parks director, gave a similar talk before the Davie County Commissioners last month.

“It’s very consistent with our town’s Comprehensive Plan,” said Bermuda Run Mayor Rick Cross, “and it speaks loudly to the collaborative effort of the towns, the county and regional community as well.”

Bermuda Run has continued to make a push for connectivity, including the Blue Heron Trail, the pedestrian bridge over I-40 and the tunnel under I-40.

“We talk about these things on a consistent basis,” Cross said. “And you can see this goes through the county, and that there’s a broader plan.”

In his comments at the end of the meeting, Cross said that the town has a plan for its summer concert series, which was derailed last year by the pandemic, with details to be shared at a later date.