Board Receives Updated Draft Budget, to Hear from Public May 21
Monday, May 14, 2018
The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners has received the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019 and will receive input on the plan during a public hearing later this month.
The initial budget workshop and public hearing will be 7 p.m. Monday, May 21, in the Town Barn, located at 101 E. Orange St. on the Town Hall campus. Parking is accessed from East Corbin Street. The board is expected to vote on the budget in June.
“We know the budget will be very tight this year, particularly with the reservoir expansion and other very necessary infrastructure projects,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said. “I believe both staff and board are on the same page working together to ensure every dollar we spend is providing good value for taxpayers and service customers. Our key budget principles — take care of what we have, invest strategically for the future, and keep rate impact on citizens as low as we can — are taken very seriously.”
Proposed FY19 budget
Under the draft plan for Fiscal Year 2018-19 — which starts July 1 and runs through June 30, 2019 — the town’s operating expenses would total $22.9 million, with:
- $10.7 million in expenses in the General Fund, an increase of 4.1 percent from FY18.
- $11.5 million in expenses in the Water/Sewer Fund, a decrease of 6.9 percent from FY18.
- $640,000 in expenses in the Stormwater Fund, a decrease of 8.1 percent from FY18.
Highlights of the draft budget include:
- Making no change in the property tax rate or stormwater fee. This would be the sixth consecutive year without a tax rate increase.
- Increasing water and sewer rates 7.5 percent each. This is to help pay for debt service on the $16 million reservoir expansion, which will increase to $1 million per year over the next three years. In addition, Efland-Cheeks sewer customer are expected to disconnect from the town’s wastewater collection system in October, which will result in a loss of $372,000 annually in the Water/Sewer Fund — or 8.5 percent of sewer revenues. Water rates were last raised in July 2012, while sewer rates were last raised in July 2016.
- Increasing water development fees 29 percent. Development fees are one-time charges assessed on new development to provide service availability and capacity for new customers. The increase is primarily due to the reservoir expansion.
- Decreasing sewer development fees 7 percent due to decreased debt service on the Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion in 2014.
- Constructing the final portions of Riverwalk in the town’s jurisdiction and making related sidewalk and safety connections to the surrounding neighborhoods. Estimated cost: $221,000.
- Replacing about half of the Police Department’s 10-year-old handheld radios. Current models have been discontinued, have started to experience failures and are requiring repair on a regular basis. Estimated cost: $70,000.
- Replacing the sewer main that crosses South Churton Street at Orange Grove Road. The current line has several problems, including sagging and reverse grade, and is too small to service the area. Estimated cost: $440,000.
- Conducting a wastewater system modeling and evaluation to identify areas that are hydraulically overloaded and to plan for future needs. Estimated cost: $100,000.
- Replacing three 90-inch stormwater pipes under Valley Forge Road. Existing pipes have deteriorated due to age, current flow, and damage from debris. Failure to replace the pipes could lead to road failure. Estimated cost: $120,000.
- Adding several new positions: administrative support specialist to assist the human resources, town clerk, and safety and risk management operations with estimated cost of $62,767; information technology manager to oversee town IT operations with estimated cost of $85,105; and planning technician to assist the Planning Department with estimated cost of $58,732.
More information and citizen input
Hillsborough’s budget is made up of two types of funds — the general fund and enterprise funds. The General Fund pays for operations such as planning, public works and police and is mainly funded by taxes. The town has two enterprise funds — the Stormwater Fund and the Water/Sewer Fund. Annual stormwater fees fund stormwater operations, while water and sewer rates fund water and sewer operations.
The budget workbook also includes departments’ balanced scorecards and top priorities. Hillsborough uses a balanced scorecard system of measures to implement its objectives. The system is used as part of the annual budget process to implement and communicate the Board of Commissioners’ mission, vision, strategic priorities and core values, ensuring that items included in the budget correspond with the town’s objectives. In addition to departmental scorecards, departments also have mapped top priorities and step-by-step ways to achieve goals.
Citizens are invited to ask questions and share their thoughts on the proposed budget. Attend the public hearing on May 21, or contact Hillsborough Budget Director Emily Bradford by email or by phone at 919-296-9427.
For more information on the budget process, see the town's budget process video.