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Fletcher adopts 2023-2024 budget

Fletcher’s town council approved a 2023-2024 budget Monday that sets a lower property tax rate for residents of the municipality.

The budget council approved was almost unchanged from the plan Town Manager Mark Biberdorf presented to the council in May.
“There wasn’t a ton of discussion,” Biberdorf said of the vote that came after a public hearing during the council’s regular monthly meeting.
During a budget retreat at Town Hall in May, Biberdorf outlined to council members a $9,350,734 balanced budget that lowers the town’s current tax rate from 34 cents per $100 valuation to 28 cents per $100 valuation.
Council adopted the budget with the 28-cent tax rate on Monday.
The 2023-2024 budget is a $699,297 increase over the 2022-2023 budget and reflects a 43 percent increase in real property values in Fletcher determined by the recent reappraisal of property values in Henderson County. Property values increased by an average of 48 percent countywide during the reappraisal.
The tax rate adopted in Fletcher is near the calculated revenue neutral rate of 27.7 cents, which taxing authorities must report by law in a revaluation year.
The only difference in the budget proposed in May and the one council adopted Monday appears in the amount set aside for Fletcher Fire and Rescue.
Biberdorf proposed that the council use 9.5 cents of the 28-cent tax rate to fund the fire department. The budget council adopted provides 10 cents of the 28-cent tax rate for the department, which was slightly less than the 10.5 cents Henderson County Commissioners set for Fletcher’s Fire Department. The revenue neutral rate for the fire department was 8.7 cent.
Mills River Fire & Rescue also provides service to one parcel of land in Fletcher. The tax rate for that department was also set at 10 cents.
The part of the tax rate set aside for the fire departments amounts to $1,733,034 for Fletcher’s fire department and $20,465 for Mills River’s fire department, according to a budget message from Biberdorf posted on the town’s website.
The change in the portion of the tax rate going to Fletcher’s fire department did not change the town’s overall tax rate of 28 cents, Biberdorf said.
The town also does not plan to make cuts in spending outlined in the budget as a result of the change in the amount going to the fire department. Fletcher will make up for the difference through the town’s fund balance, Biberdorf said.
“We’re in good shape,” he said.
Increases in the 2023-2024 budget in Fletcher are mostly for expenses related to personnel and equipment; it also includes a 4 percent cost of living increase.
The budget increases the police department budget from $1,983,268 to $2,301,954.
Most of the increase for the police department is due to $234,625 needed to buy body-cams and in-car camera system.