THOMASVILLE — A 2-cent property tax increase to fund the completion of recreation projects and road construction highlights the 2021-22 fiscal year budget adopted by Thomasville City Council last week.
City Manager Michael Brandt explained to council members that the budget is balanced at $45.9 million and with a tax rate of 62 cents per $100 of property valuation. An increase of 2 cents will be broken down into a 1-cent increase for recreational projects and 1-cent increase for road maintenance.
The budget, passed by virtue of a 6-1 vote, includes a 3% salary increase for city employees after they received no increase in the 2020-21 fiscal year. Two new city staff positions were created, one within the MIS department and the other in fleet maintenance.
Councilman Hunter Thrift’s was the lone dissenting vote. He expressed his support for almost all of the items in the budget, simply taking exception to a couple of elements, among which the tax increase is one, Thrift told the TIMES earlier this month.
“I agree with 99% of the budget; there’s just a few things I can’t get behind,” Thrift said. “That’s my reason for voting no.”
Salary and benefits for city employees total roughly $17.2 million, or 60% of all expenditures. Winding Creek Golf Course maintains five full-time and more than 15 part-time and seasonal employees, all of whom are included in the budget.
The city’s largest capital expenditures include three patrol cars valued at $79,000, three administrative vehicles at $96,000, a CID vehicle at $25,000, a vice vehicle at $25,000, three in- car cameras at $21,300 and a WatchGuard server at $18,000.
The council has set aside one-half cent of the general fund tax for economic development, totaling $97,424. Thomasville shares the cost of operating the Davidson County Economic Development Commission with Denton, Lexington, Wallburg, Midway and Davidson County.
Councilman Neal Grimes said the property tax increase was imperative to continue the projects the city has implemented. A previous increase in 2017 funded a new police building, rebuilt the old Haas Gymnasium and began the pool reconstruction project, but came up short of its completion.
Because of the construction price escalation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2-cent increase for recreation projects proved insufficient, Grimes said.
“Let’s not let this thing fail, folks,” Grimes said. “We cannot let this fall, and so we decided to add another set. … Whenever we found out we didn’t have money to make the pool work, I said, ‘Let’s scrap that. We’ve got to have enough money to make the pool work.’ I’ll take the hit for tax increases, but it’s very necessary to keep Thomasville moving forward with our facilities.”
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at email@example.com.