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by Clellie Allen
ROLESVILLE — When Rolesville Town Manager Bryan Hicks presented the proposed 2013-14 budget Tuesday night, there were no surprises in store for commissioners who had been working to balance town needs and resources since January.
The commissioners, however, had one for Hicks. At the conclusion of the work session, board members went into closed meeting to discuss a personnel matter. When they came back, they announced a 6-percent raise for Hicks, bringing his annual salary to $80,300.
After the mayor gave Hicks the news, Commissioner Betty Whitaker said, “It’s a big ‘thank you’ from the town.” Commissioner Shannon Whitley agreed, “We wish we could do more.”
The current theme during this budget planning session has been that the town is having to address significant growth issues while still avoiding a tax hike.
“We are a pay-as-you-go town,” said Mayor Frank Eagles after the meeting. “We’ve avoided raising taxes, but Rolesville still has big needs for additional firemen and police.”
Hicks outlined that with the increase the past two years in permits bought for new home construction, the town has been able to absorb a budget that is about 6 percent higher than last year’s — while maintaining a tax rate of $0.44 per $100.
Additionally, town staff used conservative growth projections for the 2013-14 fiscal year to allow room for market fluctuations.
The new budget includes many “must haves” — funds to help cover a new firefighter as well as a school resource officer for Rolesville High. Both positions are partially funded through county funds.
Staff also recommended the town find money for a police investigator with Hicks commenting that although the budget doesn’t allow for a hire before January 1, 2014, the position is critical to allow for two officers to be on duty at all times, something the department struggles to do at present.
Instead of funding the police position for the entire year, staff saw as more pressing the need for two new vehicles, although they will be financed over a five-year period. According to presentations made earlier in the year by Police Chief Matt Anderson, several squad cars have odometer readings over 100,000 miles.
Eagle explained to the board that while private vehicles usually handle high mileage without much problem, police cars are a different matter. Because they sit in idle for long periods of time, more wear and tear is put on the car than normal. “Fifty, sixty or seventy thousand miles is about the limit for police cars,” he said.
The complete budget proposal can be downloaded at rolesvillenc.gov/town-departments/administration/budget. Additionally, a copy is on hand for anyone to examine at town hall, 502 Southtown Circle.