Knightdale poised to pass budget Wednesday

aspecht@newsobserver.comJune 17, 2013 

Knightdale Town Councilman Mike Chalk, left, listens to James Overton, Knightdale finance director, read line items from a drafted budget proposal during a committee meeting in May.


— Town Council is expected to pass a $14.78 million budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 on Wednesday.

The spending plan, which is less than last year’s $14.86 million budget, drew little concern from elected officials and no comments from residents at a public hearing on June 3. Town Council extended the public hearing on the budget to Wednesday to allow more time for public comment.

According to Knightdale staff, the proposed budget will increase the cost of living for the average Knightdale household by about $97. The main reasons: A Knightdale voter-approved 2-cent property tax increase and a 9 percent increase in water and sewer rates.

The 2-cent property tax increase was approved by Knightdale voters in November through a bond referendum to help pay for phase two of Knightdale Station, a 70-acre park on First Avenue scheduled to open this summer. The increase brings Knightdale’s property rate to 43 cents per $100 of assessed property value – equal to the average property rate of Wake County’s 12 towns in FY 2013-2014.

The water and sewer rate increase stems from a payback agreement Knightdale signed with Raleigh in 2012. Knightdale owes debt to Raleigh from their utilities merger in 2006, so last year it agreed to raise water and sewer rates each year until the debt is paid off.

The budget also raises fees on services provided by Town Hall. The cost of petitioning to amend an ordinance will increase from $350 to $500. Fees for a town engineer or planner to review development plans will also rise between $20 and $25.

Brian Bowman, Knightdale spokesman, said the town proposed raising the fees for ordinance amendments and staff reviews “to more closely align with others in Wake County.”

“The new figure is about the average of what the others charge,” Bowman said, referring to the price of ordinance amendment petitions.

The cost of Parks and Recreation programs will see slight increases. Youth sports fees will increase $2 in order to pay for a new technology that will allow all athletics fees to be paid online by credit card. The price of most summer passes for the pool will increase $5.

The budget does not include a raise for elected officials or employees. Police and fire services are the largest expenditures in the budget. Knightdale also plans to fund the following capital projects: Knightdale Station; the Mingo Creek Greenway; improvements to First Avenue, Smithfield Road and Main Street; and renovations to Town Hall and the Public Safety Building.

If passed, the budget will take effect July 1.

Specht: 919-829-4826

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