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One-cent tax increase proposed for Ocean Isle Beach

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

OCEAN ISLE BEACH—The town administrator has proposed a 1-cent tax increase for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

When presented to the board of commissioners Tuesday morning, the general fund balance was based on a tax rate of 9 cents per $100 valuation with a .995 percent collection rate. That is up from the current 8-cent tax rate.

“We’re proposing a tax increase, which we did not want to do,” Mayor Debbie Smith said. “We have challenged all our departments this year to keep their expenses at the barest minimum. Everybody’s trying to cut this year.”

Town administrator Daisy Ivey presented the budget and read a letter of explanation for the proposed increase during Tuesday’s meeting. When the town takes over the Ocean Isle Beach Fire Protection Association this summer, it will be responsible for all costs, which includes a $198,000 shortfall.

“Other revenue shortfalls where experienced in areas such as building fees, mosquito grant fees, Powell fund and interest income. On the expenditure side, the state of the economy must be considered as well as the soaring gas prices,” the letter states.

Also proposed to increase is the rate structure for the water fund from $3.25 to $3.50 per 1,000 gallons. Ivey said this was proposed to adapt to the county’s increase in wholesale rate from $2.40 to $2.53

“The town experienced a similar increase in the wholesale rate during the 2007-2008 budget cycle but did not pass this increase onto our customers at that time,” Ivey said.

The board will have a public hearing at 9 a.m. June 24 to discuss the proposed budget.

In other business, the board recognized officer Aaron Muscle as the employee of the month. Smith said Muscle recently performed CPR on a woman who was not breathing after being pulled from the ocean.

“Aaron has truly saved a life,” Smith said. “We are very proud of you for your quick thinking and your quick actions.”

Kathryn Jacewicz is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at kjacewicz@brunswickbeacon.com