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Roanoke Rapids City Council Tuesday approved its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

“The budget process followed the letter of the law per the general statutes as far as public inspection and display presentation processes,” City Manager Kelly Traynham said. “City council also held a public hearing earlier in the month on June 4 and no additional citizen input has been received.”

She said the budget as drafted remains the same with a general fund operating plan of $19,861,646. “That does include the $952,140 for the theater payment so less that our general fund budget is closer to $18,853,171.”

The city manager said the ordinance sets forth anticipated revenues for the general fund and sets the tax rate at 61.4 cents per $100 value, “which is two cents less than the current rate after the property revaluation by Halifax County.”

Traynham said the authorized expenditures fund department operations including what she described as much needed deferred maintenance with some street resurfacing funds. It provides for a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for employees as well as other funding initiatives to make improvements at facilities and parks.

Councilman Rex Stainback made the motion to approve the budget on a second by Sandra Bryant.

Before the motion was passed, Mayor Emery Doughtie said, “I’d just like to go on record as saying I don’t have a problem with the dollars that we’re spending.”

He said, however, “I do have some issues with the way that they’re being spent. I’m more concerned that the citizens may seem to be overlooked in issues such as safety and other physical capital needs that we have.”

Doughtie said one of the things that concerns him is that the council earlier in the meeting spoke “about some things that might come to our community and be like a windfall for us like we received from the COVID money. Some of the other things we were presented in the revenue schedules like sales tax was decreasing, our license and motor vehicles were decreasing, actually people buying cemetery lots is decreasing and our population is decreasing. It just concerns me that we may be spending money on things that we want but maybe we cannot afford. We pretty much all have to live with that in our daily lives.”

With no further discussion the budget passed.

The city manager said following the meeting she was pleased with the outcome. “The departments worked very hard in putting together their list of needs. Year after year after year and after a while it seemed for a long time they kind of learned to quit asking because you’re not going to get it. Since I’ve been in the position I’m in I’ve tried to say we need to continue to make our needs known.”

Traynham said the revaluation and the adjusted tax rate gives the city the opportunity to budget to address different needs and take care of employees.

The budget will also allow the city to operate in a more efficient manner, she said. “The OpenGov program will give the city more transparency into our budgeting and expenditure process that will have some better ease of us being able to provide reports and having things more publicly available — easier to understand.”

Traynham said the budget includes $15,000 towards the Emry Park skatepark plan. “The city is going to request that the tourism board matches.We don’t foresee any obstacles to that. It’s just a matter of making the request formally for use of the occupancy tax funds.”