Tuesday, 20 June 2017 19:49

City budget passes with hopes of brighter economy

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With approval of its upcoming fiscal year budget this evening, Mayor Emery Doughtie sees the possibility of a brighter economic future for the city.

This was the first budget process in at least two years in which fund balance was not used, city Finance Director Leigh Etheridge said in response to council questions.
The upcoming fiscal year roadmap also uses no installment financing and is $810,000 less than the current plan, Etheridge said.
“I think that’s a good start in the right direction,” Doughtie said. “Maybe we can look at some things we’ve not been able to do … We need to be able to grow our tax base. The next four years have a lot more promise.”
Councilman Wayne Smith noted this was the first year the city hasn’t borrowed any money.
In presenting his message before council unanimously adopted the $15,648,682 budget, City Manager Joseph Scherer told the panel, “It is a balanced budget that does not reduce services, rather, it reflects our commitment to provide quality services to our residents while reestablishing our organizational short and long-term goals.”
Scherer said the budget fulfills the operational objectives requested by department heads while balancing council’s goal of narrowing the gap between recurring expenses and revenues, making use of undesignated fund balance unnecessary.
“The financial roadmap is essential to the future of Roanoke Rapids,” Scherer said. “The policy document represents our continued commitment to prudent fiscal management and effective service delivery.”
He praised department heads and managers, calling them an outstanding group “that constantly look at how they can serve the community in the most efficient manner possible.”
In thanking council for its work on the plan, Scherer said, “I know you do not take the responsibility of being good fiscal stewards lightly. Your concern for the particulars and constructive guidance help validate our budget.”
The city manager told the panel, “As a collective group, you employ worthy displays of a leadership and a true sense of teamwork when navigating through the challenging issues you are faced with on council.”
That trait, he said, “Feeds throughout our organization and enables our team to do their job in the most effective manner possible. Thank you for setting the example and having confidence in me and the management team’s ability to do the best for the Roanoke Rapids community.”
The budget contains no tax increase and will give employees a 4 percent cost of living increase.
The list for capital items includes a new vehicle for planning and development; a leaf machine for public works; two commercial mowers and an increase in funding for street repairs.

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