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The Gaston Gazette
Gastonia city budget includes increase in utility fees
By Kara Fohner, The Gaston Gazette,
Gastonia City Council adopted a budget that includes small increases in water, sewer, solid waste and stormwater fees.
The 2022-2023 budget, which will take effect July 1, included no adjustment to the property tax rate, which stands at 52 cents per $100 of assessed value. Assessed values are projected to produce $35,820,560 in tax revenue, an increase of $767,442, the city reported.
The city increased water and sewer rates by 5% and increased the solid waste fee from $8.50 to $11 per month. The stormwater fee also will increase from $3.25 to $5 per month, according to the budget.
According to the city, stormwater rates are increasing due to needed infrastructure improvements and the repair or replacement of stormwater systems, along with ensuring state permit compliance requirements.
Water and sewer rates are increasing because of increased costs for materials, supplies, construction projects, chemicals, and energy costs, and solid waste rates are increasing due to rising costs for materials, supplies, construction projects, chemicals, and energy costs. The costs include landfill increases, staffing, fuel and additional equipment, the city said.
City council members and the mayor received a 10.7% compensation increase, going from $1,432.50 per month to $1,585.78 for the mayor and from $1,232.50 per month to $1,364.38 for the council members. Additionally, their monthly expense allowance will be increased 10.7%, rising from $350.00 to $387.45.
City employees didn't get a raise in the new budget, but they did receive a raise back in January 2022 — each employee received a minimum of a 6.5% salary increase, with the average increase being 10.7%.
The raises for city employees were based on a study done in the 2021 fiscal year, and raises were based on how many years each employee had worked for the city.
The city intends to use $21,629,000 in state funding for water and sewer projects, upgrades to the Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment District, the construction of a portion of the Catawba Creek Greenway, new entrance signs for all recreation centers, the Schiele Museum, and improvements to the Gastonia Airport.
Reporter Kara Fohner can be reached at 704-869-1850 or at email@example.com. Support local journalism bysubscribing here.