The Town Council at its June 7 regular meeting voted unanimously to adopt a $43.2 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which begins July 1.
The budget funds a sidewalk maintenance pilot program, replacement of multiple bleachers at Town ballfields and numerous new positions, including four critically needed police patrol officers and a community risk captain for Garner Fire-Rescue.
The additional officers will allow the Police Department to respond to the Town’s growing population and maintain current service levels. The community risk captain will enable Garner Fire-Rescue to implement various initiatives designed to educate local residents about fire-prevention practices.
A municipal property-tax rate increase of 1.5 cents is included in the FY 21-22 budget, bringing the Town’s rate to 50.21 cents per $100 valuation.
Even with the tax-rate increase, the adopted budget continues to ensure that Garner will have the lowest effective tax rate among Wake County municipalities (view comparison chart).
“I want to thank the staff that worked on this [budget], but particularly I want to thank this Council,” Mayor Ken Marshburn said at the June 7 Council meeting.
He said the Council made prudent decisions to restore to the budget several new positions that had been requested by departments but were not originally part of the recommended budget. Mayor Marshburn said the positions that were restored would help the Town meet important service needs and that failing to include them in the budget would have amounted to “kicking the can down the road—and that’s not a good thing.”
In addition to the four police officers and the fire community risk captain, new positions funded in the budget include a risk manager; a GIS mapping position for Planning; an IT/communications specialist; four park attendants; conversion of part-time Public Works grounds positions to full time; enhancements to the Public Works fleet management team and four positions that could help the Town manage a new bond program if approved by voters in November.
The projected Town-wide value of assessed property for fiscal year 2021-22 increased by $186.2 million, or 3.9 percent, over the projection for the current fiscal year. This rise was driven mainly by new home construction and the addition of $154 million in equipment at the Amazon fulfillment center on Jones Sausage Road.