The town of Kill Devil Hills unveiled a recommended Fiscal Year 2016-‘17 town budget of $17,315,175 at the May 16 Board of Commissioners meeting. The last of Dare County’s six municipalities to present a recommended spending plan for the new fiscal year, Kill Devil Hills also proposed the largest budget — exceeding Nags Head’s $16,229,920 number by slightly over a million dollars.
The new budget proposes no changes to the town-wide ad valorem tax rate, which stands at $0.3809 per $100 worth of valuation of assessed property. At the meeting, the commissioners approved a schedule that includes a budget working session on May 25 and a public hearing on the budget set for June 13.
By way of comparison, the original Kill Devil Hills budget for the 2015-’16 fiscal year was about $15.4 million, but the estimated actual budget for that year is now put at $18.1 million.
The budget presented on May 16 by Town Manager Debora Diaz represents the second year of a two-year budget-planning process, meaning the outlines of the new spending plan were previewed last year. “It’s basically what you saw last year with some massaging,” Diaz told the commissioners.
Among the recommended items to be funded in that budget are the purchase of police body cameras and the replacement of five police vehicles. It also calls for the replacement of the town’s “aging” phone system and for $718,000 to be spent on street and drainage projects. The budget also calls for contracting the replacement of the town’s water meters to an outside firm rather than having that done as a longer term in-house project.
One big ticket item in the recommended budget is just under $2.6 million that is earmarked for the town’s beach nourishment project.
The 2016-’17 budget also includes a 2.2 percent Cost of Living Adjustment for all municipal employees, although the merit/bonus pay plan remains suspended. There is continued funding for the town’s 401K plan, with matching contributions of up to two percent for non-law enforcement employees.
On the cost side, there was one piece of good news delivered by Diaz at the May 16 meeting: “On a pleasant note, we are fortunate in that we are seeing a ten percent decrease for our health care — both for our employees and retirees.” That health insurance is provided through the North Carolina League of Municipalities.