Commisioners pass budget with tax cut

Two percent cost-of-living increase for county employees remains in budget for 2005-2006Mitchell County Commissioners adopted the 2005-06 budget.

The budget totals $13,849,822 for all county operations, personnel expenses, etc. The budget reflects a 6.75 percent decrease from 2004-05.

The proposed 2005-06 budget also includes:

n A one-cent tax cut, dropping the current rate to 52 cents per $100 valuation. The one-cent cut means a projected loss of $96,380 for the next budget, said Finance Officer Mavis Parsley.

n A two percent cost of living raise for county employees, totaling $43,925 in salaries and benefits.

n A 94.48 percent tax collection rate.

n A three percent increase in revenues.

n An 11 percent increase in sales tax receipts.

Block grant

Mitchell County was one of six N.C. communities to receive a $600,000 federal Community Development Block Grant, money designated to rebuild hurricane/flood damaged homes.

Clerk to the Board Kathy Young said the money will be used to replace and repair homes in the Henson’s Creek community, an area heavily damaged during the floods.

Commissioners voted to allow Boone Housing Authority to administer the grant, at a cost of $84,000.

County Attorney Lloyd Hise said this is higher than the standard administration fee (14 percent rather than the standard 10 percent), but said there is a lot of extra work to do with this specific grant.

“They’ve got a lot more paperwork, and a lot more verification to do,” he said.

He said the original proposal was for an 18 percent administration fee.

Masters asked why this grant could not be done by a county employee.

Hise said the grant administrator would have to be familiar with state and federal regulations, and would have to know building codes. He said the county does not have anyone qualified to administer this type of grant.

The board voted 5-0 to allow Boone Housing Authority to administer the grant, but all five commissioners said they would eventually like to hire someone to administer grants in-house.

Closed session

The Board met in closed session for approximately 30 minutes to discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of businesses in the county, and to discuss economic development incentives. No action was taken when the board returned to open session.

Next meeting

Commissioners scheduled the next regular meeting for Monday, July 11 at 6 p.m.