Albemarle Council approves 2024-25 budget

The new City of Albemarle budget passed with a 5-2 vote

Councilmembers voted on the city’s new budget at the June 3 regular meeting (City of Albemarle)

ALBEMARLE — The city council passed the 2024-25 budget by a vote of 5-2 at its meeting on Monday.

Starting with the new fiscal year on July 1, the budget tallies to $83,247,464 with general fund revenues projected at $20,988,797.

Councilmembers Dexter Townsend, Chris Whitley, Benton Dry, David Hunt and Bill Aldridge supported the budget measure, while Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Sue Hall and Councilmember Chris Bramlett opposed it.

The budget and budget letter were originally presented at the council’s May 6 meeting, with budget workshops were held on May 14 and May 16 where supplemental information was provided to the council.

A memorandum was provided, noting adjustments to the budget since it was first presented.

In those adjustments, the City Council decided to appropriate funding to Gateway of Hope, requested that funding be budgeted to begin a 401K program for city employees starting after December 31, and asked that a mobile bathroom unit be purchased for Albemarle Parks and Recreation to deploy for public use at community events.

Additionally, the council decided not to raise sewer rates and approved funding for new lighting and foul ball netting at Don Montgomery Park and Rock Creek Park.

Under the 2024-25 budget, the city will not see a property tax increase as it will stay at the current rate of 61 cents per $100 valuation; water rates will remain at the current fixed $2.90 monthly sewer rate and electric rates will include a wholesale rate decrease of approximately 1%.

City employees will see a 2% cost of living adjustment to salaries, along with merit pay increases based on performance evaluations.

In her dissent, Hall said that she could not bring herself to support the budget due to concerns with the city’s five-year capital improvement plan that includes projects within the current budget cycle.

“As bad as I hate to do this, I will not vote in favor of the budget,” Hall said. “The one reason is that we have a capital improvement plan that we as a council have not done anything with, nor have we been given any kind of idea how to fund it. I know that in the meeting in November of last year — the first time we looked at the budget — and then in January and then in February, there was a list of items that department heads brought out and they were supposedly prioritized.”

Hall stated that the city’s budgeting strategies were caught in a cycle that wasn’t monetarily sound.

“After going back through it, I guess I’m a bit concerned that we continue to do the same thing year after year after year,” she added. “We make a list but we don’t come up with how we’re going to fund it. I hate to be the one that does that, but that is exactly the way I feel about it. A budget is not just making plusses and minuses. It’s looking and it’s being proactive about where we’re headed.”

The Albemarle City Council is set to meet again on June 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers.

cutline: Councilmembers voted on the city’s new budget at the June 3 regular meeting (City of Albemarle)