DOBSON — Members of the Dobson Board of Commissioners set an April 15 date for a budget retreat and planning session, but Town Manager Josh Smith said they don’t have much to worry about.
The news came as the board met for a special meeting Thursday night in Dobson Town Hall.
Smith told the board that this year’s retreat, designed to formalize their budget and plan for the future, will be held at the Hampton Inn near Shelton Vineyards.
During a budget update Smith described as “extremely preliminary,” he told the board that taxes were coming in faster than expected.
“We’ve already hit our budgeted mark with several months left,” he said, crediting new construction like the town’s Sheetz convenience store with the windfall.
And more good news is on the horizon, Smith hinted.
“From an economic development standpoint, I have confirmation that two new businesses should begin construction over the next couple of months,” he said.
Which will only increase what the town manager described as a “fairly strong” tax base that is generating between 400,000 and 500,000 a year.
But all is not good news.
Smith told the board that the town’s income from sales tax is going to be a little lower this year.
“But I’m still pretty confident that we’ll hit our mark on that,” he said, noting that the town budgeted for $360,000 in income from sales tax, a number that is falling closer to $360,000. “The biggest thing is this year’s holiday sales, which are about $70,000 lower this year than last.”
Smith told the board that he surmises the increase in online purchases by town residents can be blamed for the shortfall.
Addressing the town’s expenses, Smith told the board that banking fees are expected to increase slightly, and the outlay for professional services is down a bit this year.
Smith said the town may need to trim about $40,000 from its budget, but noted that with a $1.1 million budget, “it isn’t a huge gap to close.”
“The good news is we’re pretty healthy, and we have plenty of money in the bank,” he said, noting that the town has about $2.1 million in reserve when all is said and done.
“I think we’re going to be on track for another overall surplus this year, and am definitely not overly concerned or worried,” he said. “So I don’t see any reason that we should consider a tax increase next year.”
Dobson has a combined general fund and water/sewer fund budget of about $2.5 million. The town has a property tax rate of 38 cents per $100 valuation.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.