First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - The city's tax rate is expected to remain steady for the next fiscal year, but municipal services' rates and fees are expected to go up.
The Lumberton City Council and the public will talk about the proposed 2007-2008 budget at a hearing tonight at 7. Afterward, the council may adopt the budget.
City Manager Wayne Horne has proposed keeping Lumberton's property tax rate steady at 63 cents per $100 in valuation.
At Wednesday's City Council Policy Committee, Councilman Bruce Davis suggested that the tax rate could be dropped. The council lowered the tax rate last year from 65 cents to 63 cents to offset revaluation, but Davis said taxpayers till pay too much.
“I think the city needs to look at re-adjusting the tax rate,'' he said.
When none of the other council members commented on his suggestion, Davis said “I guess I'll be quiet about this.”
The proposed budget also calls for a 6.5 percent increase in water and sewer rates.
The council voted to raise last year water and sewer rates by 6 percent when it learned it would lose more than $1 million in water and sewer revenue from two plant closings. But the council decided that 6 percent was too much and voted on a 3 percent increase instead.
“The mid-year adjustment in rates while helpful, did not provide any significant growth in the water and sewer fund balance,” Horne said.
Residents could see a 9.5 percent increase in their water and sewer bills in one year if the proposed increase is approved.
“We have reviewed rates of cities of similar size of Lumberton and found that even with the proposed adjustment, our rates structure still compares favorable with them,” Horne said. “In a number of comparisons, Lumberton's rates were lower.”
There also is a planned $1 increase in sanitation fees and a 75 cent increase in residential stormwater fees.