Civic

Budget Leaves Tax Rate Same, So Taxes Going up Almost 10%

Woodfin Vice Mayor Debbie Giezintanner (far left) asks a question of Woodfin Town Administrator Eric Hardy during meeting.

Woodfin – Woodfin property owners are seeing an increase in their taxes. At the Woodfin Board of Commissioners’ regular monthly meeting, Tuesday (May 18), Town Administrator Eric Hardy presented the proposed budget for 2021-2022, which includes no change to the current tax rate of 33 cents per $100 of property value. This means that the amount of taxes Woodfin property owners will pay will increase.

Hardy presented a $6.2 million budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which is up from the town’s 2020-2021 budget of just over $5 million. This is a 23 percent budget increase. Hardy explained the rise as an increase of last year’s base budget along with a fiscal expansion of $561,020, with the revenue coming from $279,890 in new ad valorem property taxes, $255,000 in grants and $26,130 in sales and services.  

Hardy told the board that a revenue-neutral tax rate would be a 30.1 cent rate per $100 of value, amounting to about $279,890. 

The “property taxes are the single most prominent source for general fund activities…we are proposing to hold the property tax rate flat,” Hardy said.

The budget expansion revenue will come from property taxes, grant money for recycling and trash bins and park service fees. Increases in spending will service three million in general fund bond obligations, an increase in salaries and benefits to employees, street repair and the Silver-Line Park project.

Future Plans

Hardy spoke about more future plans for the town. One plan that “…has all of us concerned…” is stormwater system improvements and programs. Many small towns like Weaverville and Woodfin have caught the towns by surprise as to the number of details the state is looking for in their stormwater management plans. 

Other plans include deferred street maintenance, a gap of $3.6 million in funding for the greenway/blueway and replacing aging town facilities, including the public works and town hall. 

“We had talk potential for a replacement of townhall. When we had our discussion two weeks ago, we looked at 12 percent of that estimated budget, going by $327 per square foot, which is the number we got for the county based on their recent experience. Twelve percent of that was nearly $500,000, and you all fell out of your chairs,” explained Hardy to the board. 

“It wasn’t intended to commit and obligate us to moving forward through architect. Really, the decision point was we would like to commission a feasibility study about the needs for townhall what do we need in a facility. Is this the appropriate site? Are there other sites that might be best for the town? To provide you all opinions so we could come back to you at the conclusion of the study.” Hardy said. 

Woodfin has two percent ($90,000) for that study in the budget.

Vice Mayor Debbie Giezintanner asked why there is $160,000 in the line item. Hardy responded that it is for replacing a storage shed and a fence around public works. 

The commissioners set a public hearing for the budget on June 15. The hearing is open to in-person public comment.

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