Cedar Point board to hold hearing Tuesday on budget proposal with tax hike, no garbage fee

Clockwise from right, Cedar Point Mayor Scott Hatsell, Commissioner John Nash, town manager David Rief, Commissioner Gary Bray and Commissioner Pam Castellano discuss Mr. Rief’s fiscal 2021-22 budget proposal during a work session earlier this spring. The board will hold a public hearing on the budget Tuesday. (Brad Rich photo)

CEDAR POINT — The Cedar Point Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed fiscal 2021-22 budget that calls for a 3-cent increase in the property tax rate — up to 14.75 cents per $100 of assessed value — but would eliminate the solid waste fee.

The change, if enacted by the board during or after its 6:30 p.m. monthly meeting in the town hall, could lower the total tax bill for most residents by eliminating the $175 garbage fee.

It would also eventually increase the town’s share of sales and use tax revenues distributed by Carteret County to municipalities because the distribution is based on property tax levies.

The average property value in Cedar Point is $291,388. Based on that, the average taxpayer would face a bill of $429.80 under the proposed budget, down from $518.52 in fiscal 2020-21. The $429.80 bill works out to $35.82 per month.

In his budget message, town manager David Rief said the total recommended balanced budget is $1,069,500, an $84,500 increase from the initial 2020-21 operating budget of $985,000.

“I believe that this Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Recommended Budget represents a responsible revenue and expenditure plan that considers both the present and future of Cedar Point,” Mr. Rief wrote in his message. “We have consistently strived to develop and adhere to a structurally sound budget in an effort to stabilize tax rates over the long-term and have also put forth a significant effort to project future capital needs and identify potential challenges.”

The town’s largest source of revenue would be the property tax, which is expected to generate $597,161.93. The next highest stream is the sales and use tax, which is expected to supply $220,000.

The budget notes the town expects to take over its building and inspections services during the fiscal year, eventually bringing in about $50,000 in fees. Under the existing contract with the county for those services, about $70,000 per year in fees has gone to the county.

The town also expects to get $35,000 from the state-shared Powell Bill, derived from the gas tax. That money must be used for street and street-related purposes.

For the first time in years, the fiscal 2020-21 budget did not use any of the town’s reserve fund to balance the budget, and that policy will continue under the proposed budget.

The spending plan includes an 8% pay raise for Mr. Rief and 3% pay raises for all other town employees.

In closing his budget message, Mr. Rief wrote: “Looking ahead over the next 5-10 years, the Town expects continued growth, both in new development, as well as property values. As the Town continues to grow, so will the demand for services and infrastructure. Rapid growth brings about new opportunities and challenges.

“I believe the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Recommended Budget reflects a genuine effort to achieve the Mayor and Commissioners’ budget and service goals and respects the need for fiscal restraint.”

He urged the mayor and commissioners to adjust his budget recommendation “in any way that more clearly reflects their priorities and visions for the Town.”

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

(1) comment

Nec_Nova_Tributa

Leave it to politicians to create a system that incentivizes other elected leaders to raise taxes. Less than a decade ago the Cedar Point budegt was ~$500K with a tax rate of 055. This years proposed budget exceeds $1 million. In the past three years the rate has climbed to .1175 and will disappointingly rise to .1475 if the town officials approve this budget. The rate will likely triple despite increased commercial growth and a larger residential tax base. It's remarkable that the handful of hard working families that developed and governed Cedar Point many years were able to maintain a .05 rate for decades As they have handed the reigns to the next generation the town's elected officials default position is to raise taxes. The current economic environment resembles the 2006-2008 timeframe. The housing market is inflated and unsustainable. The bloated tax assessments based on this current market are not scheduled to be reviewed again until 2024. As inflation increases due to out of control federal and state spending the town needs to rethink the need to gold plate Cedar Point. Does the town really need a $35K electronic sign? Many of the Cedar Point residents voted for the park referendum which now seems to have opened pandoras box. What are the chances that as inflation increases that next years request has another rate hike? No New Taxes.

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