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Mills River manager won't seek tax increase

Jaime Laughter presented a budget forecast. Jaime Laughter presented a budget forecast.

MILLS RIVER — Mills River Town Manager Jaime Laughter told the Town Council Thursday that she does not plan to recommend a tax increase in the 2014-15 budget.

Laughter presented broad outlines of the town's finances and projections for the remaining five months of the current budget and projections for 2014-15.
A review of the town's budget for the first six months of the 2013-14 budget showed that the town had received $963,500 of its total projected revenue of $1,446,785. It had also spent about half of the project expenditures.
Among the highlights of Laughter's 2014-15 forecast:


  • The town will submit its application for a Parks and Trust Fund grant by Jan. 31. The state will announce the first round of grants in May and a second round in August.
  • Income from permitting fees is running ahead of budget. The town budgeted $3,000; it has received $3,040. "The big difference is we're seeing a lot more commercial and industrial development," she said. "The fees are higher for commercial and industrial development. We are definitely seeing an increase in commercial, industrial. I think it's almost flip-flopped since I got here," when housing drove permitting fees.
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has invested more than the economic development incentive agreement required, she said. It has completed the brewhouse and is planning to open a restaurant by the end of the year. The Legacy at Mills River, an upscale life care development stalled for several years because of the recession, is expected to start construction this year. The new Beystone nursing facility on N.C. 191 near High Vista will open later this year.
  • The Jeffress Road area off N.C. 280 is poised to see more development. "We do hear a lot about development along Jeffress Road where the sewer line is now running," Laughter said. "We're just seeing hints. We just get a lot of calls about that area." In general, she said, development follows inquiries by six months.