Published: Jun 26, 2012 11:51 AM
Modified: Jun 26, 2012 05:47 PM
CHAPEL HILL - With little discussion, the Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously passed a $52.5 million budget Monday for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The budget maintains the same property tax rate and is balanced with $1.5 million from the town’s fund balance, a reserve account used to manage cash flow.
Chapel Hill’s property tax rate will remain at 49.4 cents per $100 of assessed value or $1,497 for a $300,000 house. Homeowners also pay county and city school taxes, both rates that are set by the county commissioners.
The budget also brings back some services cut from last year’s budget.
More hours are added to the Community Center Pool schedule though a $5 increase in swimming lesson fees, and the town has reinstated the Fourth of July celebration at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium. The fireworks were cut last year because of a lack of funding.
Town residents rated Chapel Hill services higher than years past in a community survey taken earlier this year, said Town Manager Roger Stancil. The town has maintained service levels despite tight funds over years of economic recession and should be proud, he said.
“It’s important to take a moment to say there’s not many towns that came out of the recession in as good of shape as the town of Chapel Hill,” Stancil said.
Stancil initially recommended a half-cent property increase to fund a gap in the town’s Chapel Hill Transit. The revised budget transfers $364,000 from the town’s general fund to the transit system.
The town plans to spend $700,000 for a pay classification study over the 2012-13 and 2013-14 fiscal years. Full- and part-time Chapel Hill employees will receive a 3 percent raise in the budget, the first one in three years.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to offer some increase in your income,” said council member Gene Pease. “I thank you for your work the last three years. I know our services haven’t gone down at all and I appreciate it and thank you.”
Health insurance costs for Chapel Hill employees have bucked a national trend and decreased by 3 percent this year, Stancil said. Health insurance premiums nationally have increased by 8 percent to 10 percent, he said.