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Rockwell, Faith, Cleveland adopt 2021-22 budgets; East Spencer officials to receive budget next week

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The towns of Rockwell, Faith and Cleveland have all adopted budgets for the 2021-22 fiscal year that don’t raise taxes and are boosted by hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal economic relief.

The 2021-22 fiscal year begins July 1.

Rockwell

The town adopted its $2.45 million budget for 2021-22 on Monday. A total of $1.66 million was adopted in the previous, 2020-21 budget, which ends June 30.

Town Clerk Marlene Dunn attributes the increase in the upcoming budget to the estimated $630,000 to be received from the federal American Rescue Plan in two separate installments. Additionally, the town received more sales tax revenue in the current fiscal year than anticipated.

Rockwell’s upcoming budget does not raise taxes, keeping it at 46 cents per $100 valuation. Included in the budget is $12,230 for the mayor and town board, $313,633 for the fire department and $544,348 for police. A total of $239,618 will be allocated to public works, while $34,100 goes to the Rockwell Park.

A total of $40,000 will be transferred for the new police department, which is anticipated to be complete in July or September. Dunn said the town has a $1 million loan for the building, but some additional funds were allocated for non-contract costs because Chief Hugh Bost Jr. has does some of the work on the building himself. Additionally, $8,000 is being used for a new coat of paint and sets of blinds at the town hall building, located at 202 E. Main St.

American Rescue Plan funds can be spent until 2026, and Dunn said the town is currently determining how best to use those funds. Though no set criteria has been established, some approved costs are expected to include utilities projects and broadband infrastructure. Since the city of Salisbury maintains Rockwell’s and Granite Quarry’s utilities services, Dunn said she’s unsure whether the town will have enough eligible costs to exhaust all funding. Any unspent funds would be returned after expiration in 2026.

Faith

Faith adopted a $604,900 budget last week for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which is up from the $584,729 adopted for 2020-21.

Faith’s budget does not raise taxes, keeping the rate at 41 cents per $100 valuation. A total of $120,009 was allocated for the fire department and $136,000 for the police department. A total of $101,600 was adopted in the water fund after a $1,715 transfer to the general fund.

Faith is expected to receive a total of $240,000 in American Rescue Plan funding. The town has appropriated those funds at this time to the sewer fund, bringing the total t0 $304,645.

“Being that Faith is a very small town with limited growth and change, there are minimum changes within the budget as is the usual,” Town Clerk and Finance Officer Karen Fink told the Post.

Faith has a population under 1,000.

A total of $47,300 was allocated for public works services, $8,000 for recreational expenses and $16,000 in the streets department.

There are no more payments budgeted for one of the town’s fire trucks after $39,550 was budgeted in 2020-21. A total of $1,200 remains on a copying machine lease.

Cleveland

Cleveland adopted its budget June 14, with $1.34 million in the general fund, $291,505 in the water fund and $431,290 in the sewer fund. The budget also includes an estimated $260,000 in American Rescue Plan funding.

The town’s budget doesn’t raise taxes, allowing the town to maintain the lowest local tax rate at 28 cents per $100 valuation. It also includes a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for employees.

The town implemented a 5% increase in residential and commercial water fees and sewer fees, respectively. Mayor Pro Tem Travis Summit said both funds needed the increase since “they have to stand on their and generate their own revenue.”

A total of $605,735 was adopted for police, with $1,500 shifted from capital outlay expenses and split among maintenance, repair and small equipment costs. Summit said the budget also includes funds for department renovations and two new police cruisers.

East Spencer

A budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year has not yet been adopted in East Spencer.

Mayor Barbara Mallett told the Post neither she nor board members have been presented a budget yet because the town hired Michael Douglas as the new town administrator only weeks ago. Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization Director Phil Conrad, a former town manager, helped East Spencer in an administrative role from February until the new manager was hired.

The town will meet for a special session to present the budget on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

“East Spencer will have a lot of changes this fiscal year, but all monies will not come from the general fund,” Douglas told the Post.

The town is expected to receive an estimated $450,000 in American Rescue Plan funding, and Douglas said town officials are currently formulating a plan for use of those funds. Additionally, the town has also received two allocations of $1.9 million and $750,000 in Community Development Block Grants from U.S. Housing and Urban Development. Douglas said those funds will be used for improvements to the town’s water and sewer system and to renovate some existing homes within the town. The town allocated $2.75 million in CBDG funds in the 2020-21 budget.

The town adopted a total of $5.09 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year budget, with $1.43 million in the general fund, $870,638 in the water and sewer fund and $52,359 in the Powell Bill fund. The adopted tax rate was 66 cents per $100 of valuation.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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