By Richard Sullins |

Each of the 552 municipalities and 100 counties in North Carolina is required by state law to adopt their annual operating budget by June 30 of each fiscal year, and the town of Broadway was the last of the units of Lee County government to meet the deadline by passing its revenue and spending plan for Fiscal Year 2022-23 on June 27.

The budget to provide services for the 1,267 people who call Broadway home estimates revenues for the general fund of $1,109,750, plus another $447,150 to be raised through the Utility Fund. The total expected revenue for the new fiscal year is $1,556,900.

The town’s police department makes up 34 percent of the general fund, receiving an allocation of $376,480. Special appropriations will receive $252,000, almost 23 percent of the coming year’s total spending plan. Finance ($168,375) and maintenance ($162,335) make up other larger portions of the 2022-23 operating budget.

On the revenue side of the equation, the town projects that 49 percent of its general fund revenues ($545,125) will be raised through ad valorem, or property, taxes. The property tax valuation for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1, will be fixed at 53 cents per $100 of property valuation.

In presenting the budget, Town Manager John Godfrey said it was “extremely lean” with virtually no fat to trim. That became obvious later in the meeting as town commissioners considered a proposal of $13,500 per year over a four year period to perform preventive maintenance on the town’s water tank that was installed 57 years ago.

“I don’t know where (funding) could come from, quite honestly,” Godfrey said. “But if this is something that the town wants to look to for the future, that’s a possibility.”

Commissioner April Collins asked, “but the price might change?”

Godfrey replied, “that’s a definite possibility.”

Mayor Donald Andrews said the tank seems to be in good condition today, but that could change literally overnight.

“We put no cushion in the water services budget,” he said.

To fund the preventive maintenance, Andrews said “the only place possible to cut is contracted services. But that’s our reserve that we go to when pipes break. And we can’t get a grant because this is considered to be routine maintenance.”

Commissioner Lynne West Green’s statement seemed to coalesce the views of all the commissioners as they looked at the need to carry out the preventive maintenance against the reality of limited revenues.

“I am all for it,” she said. “I think it needs to be done. But I’m not in favor of cutting something that would put us in jeopardy somewhere else.”

The board tabled the maintenance issue for now and will revisit it when next year’s budget is developed.

Other actions taken

Broadway’s Commissioners took other actions at Monday’s meeting, including:

  • Accepted a proposal from WithersRavenel Civil and Engineering Firm in Cary to provide consultative services on an as-needed basis. Town Manager Godfrey was directed to negotiate a contract and return it to the Commissioners in July for adoption.
  • Received a report from the manager that the Emergency Action Plan for the Watson Lake Dam project has been completed. The 77-page document is the first step necessary to begin chasing the grant funds needed to do needed repairs at the dam.
  • Scheduled a public hearing on a minimum public housing ordinance required by changes to state law. The hearing will be held at the next meeting on July 25.
  • The town is continuing its search for a finance officer that has gone on now for almost a month.