FUQUAY-VARINA — Elected leaders have adopted a budget that reflects Fuquay-Varina’s recent growth and anticipates more growth.
The Board of Commissioners OK’d a $18.5 million general fund budget on Monday. The budget, for the fiscal year that begins July 1, is a 4 percent increase over the current year’s budget.
“We’re in a pretty dynamic period of time right now,” said Town Manager Adam Mitchell. “We’re seeing some significant growth in our community.”
Under the new budget, Fuquay-Varina will hire eight new employees, bringing the total to 187.
Mitchell said the town reduced staff during the recession, and now more employees are needed to keep up with the demand for services. The town plans to hire new workers for the fire and police departments, the planning department and more.
Town employees will receive a 2 percent raise. The pay hike will cost the town about $198,450.
“With the economy strengthening, we want employees to keep up the pace of the cost of living,” Mitchell said.
Fuquay-Varina residents won’t see a property tax increase, as the rate will remain 38.5 cents per $100 valuation.
But they will pay more for water. With an increase of 17 cents per 1,000 gallons of water, the average residential customer who uses 5,500 gallons of water will pay an extra $5.40 a month.
Mitchell said the increase is necessary to keep up with rising costs from suppliers. Fuquay-Varina gets its water from several sources, including Harnett and Johnson counties.
A major expenditure in the coming year will be a campaign to “brand” the town. Leaders plan to spend $90,000, likely to hire a marketing firm to help develop slogans, symbols and messages that could help people identify Fuquay-Varina.
Mitchell said the initiative could also boost economic development, putting Fuquay-Varina on the map for businesses looking to set up or relocate.
The town “needs to freshen our image to the public,” he said.
The budget also includes $50,000 to buy cameras to put in the two downtown districts and other areas throughout town. An investment in technology could help law enforcement deter crime and protect town property from vandalism, Mitchell said.
Other expenditures include $420,000 for a rescue truck; nearly $88,000 to replace police vehicles; and $50,000 for an information technology assessment.
Mitchell said Fuquay-Varina is gearing up for more future growth. Revenue from property taxes is expected to jump from $9.2 million next year to $10.3 million in 2019.
“We see this sort of change in dynamic here,” Mitchell said.
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