The Mount Airy town council unanimously adopted its budget for fiscal year 2020.
The tax rate for real property is $0.1662 per $100 of assessed property. The tax rate for personal property, which includes business assets like furniture or computers, is $0.41 per $100 of assessed property. The tax rates did not change between fiscal years 2019 and 2020.
Under the adopted budget, the town’s general fund operating budget will be $5,154,579 for the fiscal year 2020. The general fund capital budget will be $4,701,267. The fiscal year begins on July 1, 2019.
The water and sewer rate did not go up for fiscal year 2020.
Mount Airy has a long history of being conservative when it comes to financial decisions. The town staff and council is slow when it comes to decisions about projects that will dip into the town’s budget, said Mayor Pat Rockinberg.
That cautious attitude is why the town’s reserves are so high, Rockinberg said.
“We’re in a strong financial position,” he said.
In fiscal year 2020, the town is expected to bring $1,893,750 in real and personal property taxes. The town is also projected to bring in $1,800,000 in income taxes, according to the budget.
The town police force is projected to bring the most costs to the town, with a total of $1,556,617. The majority of the costs come from salaries, overtime, health insurance and retirement, according to the budget.
Down the road, the town could see more costs for the police station, as the town will be looking for a permanent location for the police department, Rockinberg said.
One of the reasons the town has been able to keep its good financial standing is that businesses will often pay for some of the larger projects, Rockinberg said. That will be no different with the projects that might arise from the downtown vision plan.
The vision plan is a guidebook for the town, mostly to help it guide new projects brought to the town by private businesses. There are some projects, like the Flat Iron building, which the town will have to do, but the majority should fall to private developers.
And although Mount Airy saw unexpected storm damage from a tornado that swept through the area in November, a majority of the costs were accrued by the businesses and private properties. The town was able to absorb the rest of the costs in its 2019 budget, Rockinberg said.