Carolina Beach budget proposal includes higher taxes, less police

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) —  People in Carolina Beach could soon be paying more in taxes and have less police protection if a new budget is passed by town council.

Town manager Lucky Narain says for the town to be prepared for and properly respond to emergencies like Hurricane Florence, it needs more money in the budget. He says that money will come from a tax increase and by restructuring the town’s workforce.

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“We have not increased taxes in Carolina Beach in multiple years,” Narain said. “We’ve increased some of the fees for utilities, but costs for everything across the country are increasing.”

The proposed 2019 – 2020 budget for the Town of Carolina Beach includes several changes, one of which is a property tax increase.

“The tax rate will be increased with this proposal two cents, which would make it about 24.5 cents per $100 of evaluation,” Narain said. “For context, going back to the early 2000’s, our tax rate was close to 39 cents.”

Also in the proposal is a 10 percent increase in water and sewer fees. This equates to about seven dollars more per month for the average household.

“There was a proposal for water and sewer taxes to increase over a five year period. This plan modifies that because we’ve increased our debt,” Narain said.

When it comes to restructuring the workforce, an administrative support specialist, two beach patrol officers, a school resource officer, and a police intelligence detective would be eliminated. The salaries for those positions combined is more than $347,000.

“We realized that we can accomplish the same public safety goals with those less resources,” Narain said.

Narain says in order to be prepared for another emergency situation, all of these changes are necessary.

“Vactor trucks, being able to respond to flooding, these are all things that we can do with more resources,” Narain said. “Except if we don’t have the money, it’s really going to hurt our ability to respond.”

Town council will vote on the proposal at the end of the month. Anyone wishing to share concerns can attend a council meeting Tuesday, June 11, or reach out to a council member.

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