Fayetteville adopts $17 million budget, raises water rate

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Pictured at the July 18 meeting, from left, are council members Harlan Shirley, Kathaleen Brewer and Paul Oddo, Mayor Ed Johnson, council members Rich Hoffman and Scott Stacy, City Manager Ray Gibson and City Clerk Anne Barksdale. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Pictured at the July 18 meeting, from left, are council members Harlan Shirley, Kathaleen Brewer and Paul Oddo, Mayor Ed Johnson, council members Rich Hoffman and Scott Stacy, City Manager Ray Gibson and City Clerk Anne Barksdale. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The $17 million budget for FY 2020 was adopted unanimously July 18 by the Fayetteville City Council. The adoption came with no public comment.

Mayor Ed Johnson prior to the vote noted that a citizen advisory group had worked with staff to help develop the budget.

Seventy-nine percent of the general fund budget comes from taxes, with 53 percent coming from property taxes and 26 percent from local option sales taxes (LOST).

In all, nearly $14 million of the proposed $17.2 million general fund revenues will come in the form of LOST and property taxes. A sampling of the remaining revenues sources include licenses and permits at $838,630, fines and forfeitures at $1.1 million and charges for services at $201,377.

On the expenditure side, the budget addresses increased legal fees, IT costs, cyber security costs, human resources software and staffing upgrades in public information and marketing.

In terms of allocated expenses, 59 percent of the proposed budget pays for public safety staff, while 15 percent funds general government employees, 8 percent funds public works employees and 7 percent funds planning and zoning and building inspections.

Per the plan established last year, it is during the 10-year period that the annual fund balance would sometimes show a positive and sometimes a negative, with the idea of balancing out over the period, said Finance Director Mike Bush.

As to whether the millage would remain the same over that time or come with any amount of rollback, including this year, depends in part on tax digest figures, and the growth accompanying them. Tax digest figures will be released in August.

Water, sewer rates go up under $2 a month

New rates for water and sewer were approved July 18 by the Fayetteville City Council to comply with debt service for the 2010 and 2013 Series Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds.

The proposed rate structure increase comes by way of the obligations of the 2010 and 2013 Series Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds.

The bottom line is that the combined basic minimum water and sewer rate for residential customers will increase from $35.44 per month to $36.87.

Unlike some municipalities, Fayetteville gives seniors a break. The combined basic minimum water and sewer rate for senior customers will increase from $30.13 to $31.34, a difference of $1.21.

Commercial customers will also see an increase. Minimum commercial water rates will increase from $30.63 to $31.87, while the minimum commercial sewer rate will increase from $32.87 to $34.20.

City staff noted that additional incremental increases will occur annually through 2023 to ensure that the bond obligations required for the wastewater treatment plant can be met.

Mayor Ed Johnson noted that a citizen group had provided input during the rate increase discussions.