Town Manager presents Spencer’s FY 2023 budget recommendation
Public Hearing scheduled for June 14 Board of Aldermen meeting
Update: The FY23 budget was adopted as recommended on June 14, 2022.
SPENCER – Town Manager Peter Franzese presented his fiscal year 2022-23 budget recommendation to the Spencer Mayor and Board of Aldermen at a special meeting on Tuesday, May 24. The proposed Town budget for FY23 totals $5,043,901, with $4,874,339 in the General Fund, and $169,562 in the Powell Bill Fund. The property tax rate is recommended to stay at the current 65.5 cents per 100 dollars of valuation.
The Town of Spencer has continued to make progress on the goals and priorities identified in the Town’s Strategic Plan during a challenging two years of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The last two years also brought opportunities to improve the way the Town communicates with the public and uses technology, and the funding opportunity of the American Rescue Plan Act. Town elected officials and staff remain focused on community priorities, and the FY23 Budget recommendation focuses on several key areas outlined in the strategic plan.
The Town noted that revenues in the current year (FY21-22) are better than expected, and staff projects modest revenue growth for the upcoming year. At the same time, over the last two years the Town has significantly invested in recruiting and retaining a talented staff, and construction of the new Town Hall and Police Department. The proposed FY23 budget accommodates a five percent structural increase to the Pay Plan to remain competitive in the labor market and continues the developmental increase program, funds the first year of full-time Fire Department staff coverage, and includes the first of 30 annual debt service payments for the $2.8 million USDA loan.
Spencer is one of approximately 19,000 units of local government to benefit from the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), provided to state and local governments for the purpose of responding to negative economic impacts of stemming from COVID-19. The Town of Spencer’s allocation is just over $1 million. The Town has been developing a spending plan based on feedback from the community, staff, and elected officials. The resulting project ideas will be accomplished not with the SLFRF allocation itself, but rather through the “supplanted funds” created by the revenue replacement model. The FY23 budget recommendation includes appropriating $586,000 to cover staff salaries for the coming fiscal year, thereby freeing local tax dollars to achieve several projects.
Other key recommendations include:
- seed funding for a business incubator concept.
- continuing support of local tourism and events, including marketing support for the North Carolina Transportation Museum and sponsorship of Spencer’s Winterfest.
- a second year of hosting a Lead for NC Fellow.
- Engineering services to facilitate increased development and planning for transportation, utilities, and recreation.
- Continuing to replace vehicles and technology.
- Planning a safer and more efficient garbage collection process starting July of 2024.
- 17th Street stormwater project design.
- Construction of Yadkin River Trailhead.
- Exterior maintenance at Spencer Public Library, including window replacement.
- A significant street resurfacing program, based on the completed pavement evaluation data.
The proposed budget includes an appropriation of $320,000 from the General Fund Balance, with $200,000 being the projected amount of current year revenues over expenditures, and adding to it an additional amount out of the existing undesignated balance, which has increased over the last two years.
The recommendation includes designating an additional $197,673 of Fund Balance for capital and using it to fund vehicles, equipment and Technology upgrades. Staff plans to provide a recommended ordinance to establish the Capital Reserve Fund and describe how it will function.
“Mayor Williams has encouraged us to “RUN” towards Spencer’s vision, and this budget recommendation boldly embraces the vision while practicing good stewardship of the public investment entrusted to us,” said Franzese. “The Federal ARPA funding is allowing the Town to move ahead on several one-time capital investments and also support several innovative programs and amenities.”
Franzese described a vision one year in the future, where next budget will be supported by an expanded tax base made possible through development. He also noted the need to begin planning for new staff and operational costs on the horizon, to support the variety of recreation improvements now in the planning stages.
The Board of Aldermen will have the opportunity for a budget workshop at the June 9 pre-Agenda meeting (5:30 p.m.), and a public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14 during the regular meeting, starting at 6:00 p.m. Interested individuals can view the Town Manager’s recommended budget at spencernc.gov and in print in the Town Hall lobby.