The Cary Village Board approved on Tuesday a property tax increase of $51,748, the maximum allowed under state law.
This increase would translate to about $4 more in property taxes for the owner of a home worth $300,000, village staff said.
The levy of $2.59 million – the total amount the village is asking to collect in property taxes – accounts for both inflation and expected new growth in the community, both factors under a state tax cap that limits how much certain taxing bodies can increase their levies by each year.
In recent years, village officials said, Cary has only voted to include new growth.
Village staff proposed the increase to make up for higher overall operating costs and an expected increase in Cary’s contribution to its police pension fund. As of May 1, the amount the village of Cary needed to contribute grew by about $30,000 to just more than $1.2 million.
At a Village Board meeting last month, the company that prepared the appraisal of Cary’s police pension fund’s assets and liabilities told board members that the village is paying out more from its police pension fund than expected because of a retirement and fewer than expected deaths.
“I don’t think anybody on this board is looking to cause any undue stress, duress, increase people taxes, but we also have to be extremely responsible,” Trustee Ellen McAlpine said. “We have to look at what is coming down with increased expenditures for us and what type of monies we have to work with.”
While the village has to be “prudent stewards” of residents’ tax money, Cary officials also have to plan long-term, she said.
“I don’t want to hamper our services that we deliver to our customers,” McAlpine said.
Mayor Mark Kownick said that these are all very difficult decisions to make.
“We have a looming pension for our police department, which is not getting any smaller,” Kownick said. “These little increments that we might ask for are only going to help us with regard to that.”
It also will help by going toward Cary’s general fund, which goes to general operations for the village.
“We have obligations outside of what normal people think,” Kownick said.
The village has to pay for insurance, wages and almost $20 million in road projects that still need to be funded, he said.
Cary employees are good at finding grants, Kownick said, but these grants won’t cover all of the village’s needs.
“We do a great amount of work with a small staff,” he said.
Trustees ended up voting, 4-2, in favor of the increase, with the two no votes coming from Trustees Kim Covelli and Jennifer Weinhammer. Weinhammer previously said she would approve taking new growth only, but not the inflationary increase on existing property.
Source: The Daily Chronicle