Proposed Whispering Pines Budget Retains Current Tax Rate
Whispering Pines Village Manager Sue Shuster presented a proposed 2012-2013 budget to the Village Council Wednesday that would keep the property tax rate unchanged.
In a letter to the council, Shuster said the budget maintains "all essential resident services" and "recommends several new village initiatives" while maintaining the current property tax rate of 37 cents per valuation,
"The economic downturn of the past several years has resulted in declining revenues and the downsizing of recent budget requests and allocations," Shuster said. "Personnel in all departments have continued to prudently manage their respective budgets, ensuring essential services are maintained while limited new initiatives are pursued."
The proposed budget totals $3,058,755, a 6.5 percent increase from the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The council discussed each item in the general fund, and following Mayor Bob Zschoche's statement that "incremental decisions are simpler than a one lump decision," took action on two elements of the contingencies/merit pay expenditure category for village employees.
"I was talking with Moore County Commission Chairman Larry Caddell the other day, and he made a great point about employee incentives," said Mayor Pro-Tem Randy Saunders. "He said the county reinstated longevity pay, and when I asked why, he said that although government employees have a pension, they don't have what other companies have for their employees such as profit sharing and stock options.
"He said they thought longevity pay would be a good way to reward employees for what they worked so hard for."
After further discussion council decided to reinstate longevity pay for village employees after a three-year absence.
"It's time to give you (employees) a reward beyond two and a half percent," said Councilman Paul Sams.
The motion passed 4-0 with the condition that the pay would not be awarded without a favorable evaluation from the individual's supervisor. Councilman Ed Blackwell was absent from the meeting.
Longevity and merit pay will come from the $28,000 contingencies and merit pay fund.
Prior to the beginning of budget talks, the council unanimously passed a motion to allow electronic gaming to take place in the village. The ordinance passed with the amendment that "not more than one" gaming establishment could be located "within 500 feet of a residential dwelling."
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