Granite Falls: no tax increase, but utility rates to rise

May. 20, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

Granite Falls residents would see no increase in property taxes this year under the proposed $12.6 million budget the town council reviewed Monday.

But water, sewer and electric bills would increase.

Customers of the town’s electricity utility would see an increase of 2.66 percent in their electric bills because of a sales tax increase on electricity by the state. Town Manager Jerry Church said that the average bill would increase 29 cents per day

Water rates for every 5,000 gallons used per month would rise $1.38, and sewer prices would go up $1.35. However, these rates are still lower than the average for the Catawba River Basin, Church said. According to the North Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard managed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Environmental Finance Center, the average monthly bill is $59, compared to the Granite Falls bill of an estimated $55.

There are several large capital improvement plan projects in the proposed budget, including a pool renovation and the replacement of a fire truck, which would both be partially covered by grants. Granite Falls was awarded approximately $136,000 from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund for the pool and weight room renovation at the Granite Falls Recreation Center. The town also received $235,000 from a FEMA grant to replace a fire truck.

The pump stations on Laurel Street and Central Avenue will be replaced, and thanks to a $1.9 million wastewater treatment plant improvement loan, several types of projects will take place throughout the area to repair the water and sewer systems. These projects include a new sludge stabilization storage tank, a liquid lime feed system and a mechanical screen.

A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held at the Town Hall on June 16 at 5:30 p.m.