STALLINGS – Leaders in Stallings have started discussions on what will make the final cut in the next fiscal budget.
Council members met on Monday, March 11, for the first of four planned budget meetings. The budget must be approved by July 1; something Mayor Lynda Paxton doesn’t see being a problem.
“There will be things coming up as we are going through, and of course there are things we won’t know until the end of the hour,” she said. “We always manage to get it done within the deadline.”
Council must finalize their Capital Improvement Plan before approving a final budget, and the plan could include a couple of costly items. The plan, which council has been working on for the past two years, will outline capital projects such as the completion of Stallings Park and the installation of new sidewalks throughout the town as well as determining how much the projects are going to cost.
Council made strides on the CIP at their Feb. 25 meeting by eliminating small-scale projects and prioritizing some larger items. Funding for things like the $258,000 Lawyers Road sidewalk project have been moved to the forefront because permits will expire within the next two years and much of the engineering work is complete.
Aside from capital projects, Paxton does not foresee any large-scale changes to the budget for the coming year, but there could be some smaller changes for Stallings residents in the coming year, she said.
“(The council) will probably be taking a look at the storm water fees,” Paxton said. “I know staff has been pushing for the last several years to increase storm water fees, but this may be the year we have to dig in our heels and say we have to do it.”
Another focus of the budget discussions was the changes coming to the downtown area in Stallings and the upcoming improvements to the intersection of Pleasant Plains and Potter roads along with improvements coming for the sewer lines around the intersection, which will be funded by the state.
Changes at the intersection will cost around $2 million, not including the costs of the sewer renovations, which will run around $300,000. To help alleviate some costs for Stallings, council members discussed the possibility of a special tax district – a short-term tax addition for residents in the area who would see an increase in their property values from the improvements to help pay for the construction.
According to Paxton, with property values in the area being low the residents would see their taxes double in order to pay for the construction. This isn’t something the council plans on imposing on residents living near the Pleasant Plains and Potters intersection.
“I don’t think council would be willing to do that, but staff is considering having them partially share in the cost of doing those improvements in that area,” Paxton said.
The broad area around the intersection was valued at $30 million and $15 million for those living close to the intersection.
So far the council has only discussed possibilities for the budget and will not make any final decisions until the end of their discussions. Further budget meetings will be held on March 25 and April 8 and 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. before their regular town council meetings. All meetings will be held at the Stallings Town Hall, 315 Stallings Road.