COMMUNITY NEWS

City Manager Brian Hiatt presents FY 2018 budget recommendation
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Update: City Council adopted the FY18 Budget as recommended on June 8, 2017.


CONCORD – City Manager Brian Hiatt presented his fiscal year 2017-18 budget recommendation to the Concord Mayor and City Council at a special meeting on Tuesday, May 30. The City-wide budget totals $246,574,923 for all funds, including utilities and various special revenue funds. The recommended General Fund budget, where the historical funding sources are property and sales tax receipts, is $86,330,539. The property tax rate is recommended to stay at the current 48 cents per 100 dollars of valuation.

The proposed plan prioritizes investments with a focus on the future, including infrastructure, parks and recreation capital needs, and maintenance of City assets. The budget recommends a number of new positions to address customer service demands in multiple departments, improve public safety preparedness and response, and foster economic growth and development. Expanded performance based increases are programmed to recruit and retain a talented workforce in the heating labor market.

"The growth in all sectors of the economy in Concord speaks well for the desirability of our community," said Hiatt. "However, with this growth, the City cannot maintain current services levels or meet Council goals without adding positions and increasing operational line items. The Council has adopted many expansion goals to enable the City to meet growing service needs and maintain a high quality of life for our residents."

As in past years, the proposed budget restricts the equivalent of two cents on the tax rate to supplement State funding for transportation projects, as mandated by City Council.

The recommended Concord property tax rate continues to be among the lowest third of full-service North Carolina municipalities with populations greater than 40,000—and the lowest of those that do not charge solid waste and/or recycling fees. All of these cities whose property tax rates are lower than Concord's charge additional user fees for solid waste collection and/or disposal, and a few make extensive use of General Fund-related impact fees authorized by the State just for their municipalities.

Hiatt's recommendation assumes the General Assembly will not make changes to local government revenues that will impact the City of Concord. The City Manager cited one proposed bill that would reduce annual sales tax revenues to Concord by an estimated $948,000. The recommended budget includes a contingency plan of expenditure cuts to rebalance the budget, should this bill be approved effective July 1, 2017 as currently proposed.

The FY18 budget recommendation allows for service and infrastructure expansions where necessary to meet the demands of growth. In the General Fund, 52 percent of proposed expenditures will go to public safety. Other recommended budget highlights include:

  • Addressing public parking needs by contributing approximately $3 million to Cabarrus County's construction of a parking deck in the downtown area.
  • Funding a total of $1.2 million designated for street resurfacing.
  • Aligning City staffing with growth and service needs, to include 38.47 FTE in additional positions across the City to focus on public services, recreation, expanded airport operations, public safety, and economic growth.
  • Investing in the City’s parks and recreation facilities and programs, including completing the Burrage Road house renovation, McEachern and Henry greenway expansions and connectivity, ramping up outdoor programming, and preparing for the implementation of other needs identified in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
  • Transfer of tax collection expenses to Cabarrus County, resulting in a savings of approximately $170,000 per year and a reduction of 2.0 FTE.
  • Continuing implementation of the Smart Community program through installation of advanced electric and water metering technology to improve operational efficiency, reliability, and service to customers.
  • No increase in Water or Sewer rates, despite a five percent increase in WSAAC treatment costs and other challenges created by residential growth.
  • Recommending modest increases to Stormwater fees for the first time in program history, in order to accelerate master plan project completion from 21 to 14 years.

The City Council will hold at least one budget workshop on June 6, 2017 and a public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, 2017 during the regular City Council meeting. The City Manager provided his recommended budget to the elected officials and news media on May 29. Interested individuals can view the City Manager's recommended budget on concordnc.gov and also in print at the City Clerk's office.