With the final draft of Benson’s 2016-2017 budget expected later this month, town officials said the tax rate as well as recently-lowered electric rates should remain stagnate in the proposed budget.
Benson commissioners will hear the final draft budget presentation Tuesday, May 31.
Town Manager Matt Zapp said the proposed budget shows no tax increase — keeping the numbers at 53 cents per $100 valuation, the same as previous years.
At the start of 2016, the town also lowered electric rates by 8 percent for residential customers. Going forward, water, sewer and electric rates are expected to remain the same, added Mr. Zapp.
The purchase of the generating assets of the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) by Duke Energy, finalized in July 2015, effectively lowered wholesale electric rates for several communities including Benson, Clayton, Selma, Apex and Rocky Mount.
In November, Benson commissioners voted unanimously to pass the savings on to the town’s commercial and residential electric customers — approving the 8 percent reduction for residential customers, which equates to an approximate savings of $150 per year on their electric bill.
Current water rates in Benson are a $10 base charge and $4.29 per 1,000 gallons for customers inside Benson town limits and a $12 base charge and $6.93 per 1,000 gallons for those outside town limits.
Benson’s base sewer rates are currently $10 for those inside town limits and $12 for residents outside town limits. The per-gallon sewer rate is $5.29 per 1,000 gallons inside town limits and $8.96 per 1,000 gallons outside.
The town has been focused on commercial growth for the past few years. Mr. Zapp said the recent construction of a new McDonald’s restaurant and a new day care center show that Benson is indeed drawing business.
“The Town of Benson is experiencing increased economic interest and growth. Homes are selling as quickly as they are being built and commercial building inventory is in high demand,” he said. “The new McDonald’s looks to open in early July. A new day care is under construction along South Wall Street. Whether it’s residential, commercial or industrial, we are seeing growth across Benson.” Courtesy The Daily Record