Pittsboro passes $13,435,807 budget – 42.8% increase from last year

by Casey Mann, Senior Correspondent

The town of Pittsboro Board of Commissioners passed a more than $13 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, marking a nearly 43% increase from the previous year. According to Town Manager Chris Kennedy’s presentation on the budget, the goals for the future year include enhancement of current service levels, necessary repair and/or replacement of assets, retaining, attracting and providing training to a staff, work on Capital projects, and increasing its reserves.

The increased revenue is due to a combination of sources. First, with the increase in property values, the anticipated income from property taxes is expected to increase.

“The property values in Pittsboro increased nearly 39%, Countywide values increased 14%,” Kennedy’s report read. “With these value increases, the revenue neutral rate for the Town of Pittsboro for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 is 34.19 pennies. The Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget proposes to hold our current tax rate and retain a tax rate of 43.33 pennies to account for the necessary increase in projects and personnel to provide continued and enhanced high quality service to our citizens, residents and other customers.”

Additional revenue is also expected from increased sales tax revenue, increases in fees for new construction and development and increases to Pittsboro residents water and sewer rates – 45% and 35% respectively. The rate increase is estimated to cost the average user approximately $27.64 per month or $331.67 per year over their current rate.

With the increased revenue, Pittsboro’s budget includes new staff positions, employee raises, increased contributions to the Pittsboro Fire Department, and multiple new projects and contracting services. Current employees will receive a 2.5% raise while others may include larger raises “commensurate with market competition,” according to the Town Manager’s report.

The budget included the hiring of the following 8 positions: a Human Resources Director/Risk Manager, a Grants Administrator, a Public Information Officer, a Purchasing and Procurement Officer, a Deputy Chief of Police, a Planner, a Planning Project Manager, and a Public Works Director.

The increased revenue for the Pittsboro Fire Department will help pay for the interest payment on the new ladder truck and 4 new staff members including an administrative support employee and 3 new firefighters.

The budget also includes about $1.7 million in new or continuing projects. These projects include funding for the affordable housing committee, a sidewalk project along Chatham Business Park Drive, a future land use plan update, contracted code enforcement, restrooms for Kiwanis Park, Phase I of the Lewis Freeman Park, upgrades and paving at the Robeson Creek Greenway, as well as numerous improvement to the town’s water and sewer systems including new fire hydrants, pipe betterments, and projects to reduce the amount of inflow and infiltration into the town’s already strapped sewer system.

“This Fiscal Year 2021-2022 General Fund budget presents a 33.4% increase in operating expense, a 28.1% increase in personnel expense and a 94.6% increase capital expense over Fiscal Year 2020-2021,” the Town Manager’s report read.

Casey Mann can be reached at News@ChathamCountyLine.Org.