Clayton Budget Proposal Includes Water, Fire Tax Rate Increases

Clayton Town Manager Adam Lindsay

Clayton Town Manager Adam Lindsay presented his proposed new 2017-18 fiscal year budget to the Clayton Town Council and Mayor Jody McLeod this afternoon. It is the first budget in 19 years that does not have the late Steve Biggs name on it, Lindsay said.   “It is a tall order to follow his excellent leadership.”

Lindsay’s proposed budget is $21,368,728 which is down $79,031 from the current fiscal year.  The 2016-17 budget was larger primarily due to money set aside from reserves for a new fire truck and the Universal Playground.

Initial department head requests were for $29.5 million this year, but $8 million was eliminated from those requests.

No increase in Clayton’s ad valorem property tax rate is being proposed this year, but several fee increases are included.  Among them is a $0.02 tax rate increase in the Claytex Fire District to help purchase a ladder truck in the future.  The fire district tax increase must be approved by Johnston County Commissioners. One penny in the fire tax generates $138,000 in revenue.

The budget includes an increase in the base charge for water from $10.10 per month to $15 per month. Out of town customers will pay double.  A wholesale rate increase of 6 percent for water costs from Johnston County will also be passed onto customers effective July 1st.

No changes in the electric, water or sewer rate are planned, other than the 6 percent wholesale water rate increase, however a rate study of all three areas is currently being conducted and the results should be ready this Fall, at which time they will be reviewed.

A total of 13 new full-time and 2 part-time positions were requested by department heads. However, Lindsay has only proposed hiring an Accountant in the Finance Department, Assistant Public Works Director, and Senior Lineman in the Electric Department.

Clayton town employees would receive a 2.5 percent cost of living increase on July 1st.  A merit increase up to an additional 1 percent will be included after January 1, 2018.

Not included in the budget is $395,700 for field lights and $240,000 for parking lot and driveway paving at East Clayton Community Park. Also not funded is $209,228 for the Legend Park Field Light upgrade.

The town manager expects income from property taxes to grow by 5.8 percent next year due to growth in the town and sales tax revenue to grow by 12.6 percent, even though there are no tax rate increases. That will account for $1.3 million in new revenue in 2017-18.