Lincolnton City council members met virtually on Thursday, May 7 at which meeting, city manager Steve Zickefoose presented the 2020-2021 budget which includes five major funds and totals $30,500,391. While there will be a lot of planned expenditures frozen for at least the time being, there will be no tax increase.
“We’ve got several sources of new revenue that will counter any additional expenses, but we are going to freeze some of the capital outlays like for vehicles and wait and see what this COVID-19 will do,” Mayor Ed Hatley said. “We might need to spend money on things directly related to it.”
Some of the items which are going to be frozen include some new equipment for the fire department, rail trail security cameras, pool fencing and some repairs to the water plant.
“These are things that we know we can do without for several months,” he said. “That’s just to give us a cushion. The fund balance will be at 25% after the $11,728,091 which will be appropriated for operation of the city government and its activities. This is a good healthy fund balance.”
There will be no water, sewer or electricity increases.
“This is an unusual time to try to come up with a budget because you really don’t know what the total expenditures related to COVID-19 will be,” Hatley said. “It’s better to do that than to cut back on services.”
The city is currently in the process of taking over the Boger City Fire Department from Lincoln County.
“Lincoln County came to us to see if we would administer it for them,” Hatley said. “It will be good for the city and the county. It’ll give the residents and businesses there a much better rate for their insurance.”
The City of Lincolnton will take over the Boger City Fire Department effective July 1.
After much discussion, council members made the decision to not have the Fourth of July parade this year due to restrictions on gathering. The city is going to try to do a fireworks display, but the Lincolnton High School stadium will not be open for seating.
Conversations are in place for the Lincoln County Apple Festival, however, it may be cancelled as well.
A public hearing will be held on June 4 during the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Lincolnton City Council to receive comments and questions from the general public. The budget must be adopted by July 1.
City council approved the following items at the meeting:
• An ordinance for an additional stop signs at the intersections of Pine and Cedar Streets and Sycamore Street and Cedar Street.
• An ordinance to approve a waiver agreement with NCMPA1 authorizing electronic (paperless) billing.
• Bids for chemicals for the city’s water treatment plant.
• A contract with SEPI, Inc. for the East Main Street sidewalk connector project.
• A contract with the Downtown Development Association of Lincolnton, Inc. for the 2020 Alive After Five Concert Series events authorizing holding the festivals and the sale of malt beverages and unfortified wine on the public streets, alleys, and parking lots. The dates are now scheduled for June 25, July 30, Aug. 27 and Sept. 17. These dates are tentative and may be rescheduled.
• A fire and rescue services agreement between the city and Lincoln County.
• A budget amendment for fiscal year 2020 relating to projected decreases due to COVID-19.