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Hertford budget spends $878K from reserve fund

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The Perquimans Weekly

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

HERTFORD — The town of Hertford is proposing to use nearly 60 percent of its reserve funds to pay for an expansion to town hall, replace worn-out equipment and make improvements needed to bring the town in compliance with state and federal regulations.

The $2.6 million proposed budget for 2019-20 doesn't include any property tax rate or fee increases.

Instead, the town intends to spend $878,000 of the $1.4 million it now holds in reserves to pay for the upgrades.

Councilor Quentin Jackson, the town's mayor pro tem, recently defended the plan to spend that much fund balance, saying the town has suffered because past councils put off needed upgrades.

“Hertford has had a high fund balance because of neglect of the town,” Jackson said.

The $2.6 million general fund budget represents an increase from this year's budget of $1.8 million. The major difference is the use of the $878,000 in fund balance.

At $1.4 million, the town's fund balance represented 80.9 percent of this year's general fund expenses. The Local Government Commission recommends towns keep a minimum of 8 percent in fund balance.

Unlike Perquimans County, where property taxes make up the biggest source of government revenue, in Hertford, sales tax revenue plays a bigger role.

The new budget includes funding for a police officer/code enforcer and a legislative assistant/clerk for the town board.

The spending plan also includes funding to replace a chipper truck, flatbed truck, an enclosed tractor for the spray field, and vacuum truck or trailer. There's also funding to pay for body and vehicle cameras for the Hertford Police Department.

The budget proposal also includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for town employees.

Town Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at town hall on Monday, June 17 at 6 p.m.

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