The Town of Davidson releases the Manager’s FY 2022-23 Recommended Budget today, May 6, 2022. This year’s Manager’s Recommended Budget is carefully aligned with the community vision set forth in the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, as well as the 2022 Strategic Plan initiatives. All materials associated with the proposed budget can be found at www.townofdavidson.org/budget after the budget is presented on May 10, 2022.
Some major features of the recommended budget include:
ELIMINATION OF SOLID WASTE FEE, INCREASE TO TAX RATE
The solid waste fee, which is the fee residents pay to cover the costs of solid waste collection, has been a topic of discussion for the town board for several years. Recently, the current fee has not paid for the full cost of the service, so the town has been subsidizing solid waste fee collection costs with town funds. At this point, given continually increasing costs of services, the town needs to either raise the fee or shift the cost to the tax rate (as most communities do). The recommended approach is to include it in the tax rate.
Moving forward, instead of a solid waste fee, residents will pay for solid waste services directly through the tax rate, which would increase by 3.5 pennies from $.29 to $.325. Accordingly, single family residents will no longer pay the $201 annual fee, and residents in multi-family homes will no longer pay the $60 annual fee.
In applying an equity lens to all town policies and practices, the town identified the current solid waste fee as regressive because the fee was the same dollar amount no matter the property value of the home. Beginning next fiscal year, the town will be taking a more progressive approach, whereby solid waste collection services costs will be spread throughout the tax base, resulting in a more equitable impact for those with varying property values.
The town has long heard feedback from residents who stand against the solid waste fee and hope this change will provide a fair resolution for those who believed the fee was not just. While the elimination of the fee and increase to taxes will certainly impact residents, it means that 82% of single-family households in town will be paying the same amount or less than they do now for solid waste collection. Only for homes with a value exceeding $648,000 will the tax implications be greater than the solid waste fee.
The following table illustrates the impact the change would have on residents in single-family households*:
CHANGE IN TOTAL AMOUNT PAID
* Please note these calculations are based on a solid waste fee of $227, the fee amount the town would need to charge to cover costs.
As Ad Valorem taxes extend to personal property, those items will also be affected as a result of this increase. This change would go into effect with the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022. There would be no change to service levels, and WastePro will still be the town’s solid waste service provider. The Town of Davidson will also be partnering with the Ada Jenkins Center to help with those approximately 100 residents who previously qualified for the solid waste fee waiver and still may need assistance.
BALANCED AND RESPONSIBLE BUDGET
Coming out of another difficult year due to COVID-19 and now facing rising inflation, the Town of Davidson has risen to the challenge of maintaining and enhancing the services it provides to its residents. The town has again positioned itself well through solid financial management to present a balanced and responsible budget that plans for the town’s future. The budget will be furthering the town board’s strategic plan initiatives with enhanced resources allocated in the following areas: sustainability, vision zero, historic preservation, mobility, affordable living/equity/inclusion, and economic development. The proposed budget preserves all staff positions and adds a few key staff enhancements tied to the town’s strategic plan initiatives such as a Public Safety & Engagement Officer and a grant-funded Traffic Safety Officer in the Police Department to help further the town’s Vision Zero goals and make our streets safer for all. The budget also calls for the remaining funding for the full-time Captain position in the Fire Department. In addition, staff will be receiving merit and inflationary increases to assist with recruitment and retention. This important growth in town staff will enable Davidson to provide superior services to the public and will do so in a fiscally responsible manner.
Along with the budget, the Town of Davidson also updated its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Completed every year, the CIP looks five years ahead at various large scale town projects such as improvements to parks, greenways, roadways, etc. and strategically plans out how that work might be completed most efficiently. The highlight of the plan is leveraging grants to further the next phase of projects funded by the 2017 voter-approved General Obligation (G.O.) bonds for mobility, parks, and greenways. The CIP positions Davidson to make large, impactful improvements to infrastructure and amenities while remaining fiscally conservative.
The Manager’s Recommended Budget will be presented at the Davidson Town Board meeting next Tuesday night, May 10, 2022. The meeting video and accompanying materials will be available on the Town of Davidson website here. There will be a subsequent budget public hearing on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. at Davidson Town Hall. Please email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.