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Proposed city budget calls for pay raises, no tax rate or fee increase

SALISBURY — City Manager Doug Paris’ proposed budget for the coming fiscal year includes no tax hike or fee increases, no internal loan for Fibrant and money to pay for six firefighters and a court employee.
He also wants to give city employees who do well on annual evaluations a 2.25 percent pay raise.
Paris presented his proposed budget to City Council this morning, including reinstating two downtown grant programs and a $50,000 pilot program to encourage property owners to install fire sprinklers in historic downtown buildings.
City Council took no action and will hold a public hearing on the budget at 4 p.m. June 4. Councilman Pete Kennedy, the longest serving member, called it the best budget he’s seen in 20 years.
After increasing the tax rate and garbage fees last year, as well as creating a new storm water fee, Mayor Paul Woodson told Paris not to bring City Council any proposed tax or fee hikes for the 2013-2014 budget.
Paris said his staff saved $3 million in the past year by refinancing debt and cut nearly $1 million in costs from Fibrant, the city’s new high-speed broadband utility, as well as identifying an additional $1 million in savings as contracts come up for renewal.
The city’s water-sewer capital reserve fund has been loaning Fibrant millions of dollars to cover operations, but Paris said the broadband utility won’t need an internal loan next year.
The budget was handed out during the meeting.
Read more in Thursday’s Post.

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