Lewisville to consider property tax increase: Four-cent hike per $100 of valuation proposed for fiscal year 2024-25

Published 12:10 am Thursday, April 18, 2024

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LEWISVILLE — In Stacy Tolbert’s first budget message as the interim manager for the town of Lewisville, she had the dubious duty of announcing a proposed property tax increase from 17.7 cents per $100 of valuation to 21.7 cents per $100 of valuation for fiscal year 2024-25 in last Thursday night’s council meeting.

That represents an increase of 4 cents per $100 of valuation, where 1 cent of the tax rate generates approximately $173,510 of revenue, according to Tolbert.

She confirmed that the last change in the tax rate was in 2006 when it was actually lowered to the current rate of 17.7 cents per $100 of valuation after being at 19.5 cents per $100 of valuation in 2005.

Tolbert said that the proposed General Fund budget is $7,232,783 for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget as proposed, is balanced with $398,478 in fund balance from the General Fund. That fund balance appropriation represents the costs associated with projects that are not recurring operational costs.

Even last week in comments regarding growth in Lewisville for today’s Progress Edition in the Courier, Mayor Mike Horn had this comment: “Another big concern we have is one that is shared by all communities across North Carolina. That’s how to continue to provide high-quality dependable services in an environment of increasing costs. Lewisville has not raised its tax rate in years because of the growth we’ve experienced and how well our council and staff have managed our finances. Maintaining that tax rate will be challenging as we move into 2024 and beyond.”

In her budget message, Tolbert said that the town’s two largest expenses are the contract for solid waste and recycling with Waste Management and the contract for community policing with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

“Due to inflationary pressures and workforce challenges, the cost of these two contracts are scheduled to escalate significantly in the upcoming year,” she said. “The 4-cent increase in the property tax rate, 3 cents for the solid waste contract and 1 cent for the community policing contract, is necessary to fund these increases so that current service levels will be maintained for our residents.”

The town of Lewisville also collects a levy for the Willow Run Municipal Service District.

The current tax rate is 5 cents per $100 of valuation. Tolbert said that the tax rate in the proposed budget is 10 cents, which represents an increase of 5 cents per $100 of valuation as it has recently come to the town’s attention that the Lake Marblehead dam requires significant repairs.

“The MSD’s current fund balance is insufficient to pay for the repairs and it is necessary for them to borrow from the General Fund to cover the cost,” Tolbert said. “In order to reimburse the General Fund in future years while still funding their current operating expenses, we deem it necessary to propose this increase of 5 cents to the tax rate.”

The town has a history of saving up for major projects and currently has a project underway to make enhancements to Jack Warren Park. The improvements include a disc golf course, an amphitheater and additional walking trails.

In addition, the town has a major initiative underway on the planning front, procuring professional services to update the town’s Unified Development Ordinance. 

“With guidance from the Town Council and the Planning Board, this effort will update our ordinances and development regulations to guide future development and keeping it compatible with the character of our wonderful town,” Tolbert said.

Horn said that last Thursday night’s meeting was the result of a lot time, effort and input in looking forward, but much more work is ahead.

“This is our first opportunity to take a look at the budget that is now being presented to us by the interim manager as prepared by the staff,” Horn said. “We have several budget workshops coming up at which time we will dive into this with both feet taking a look at the items that are being presented, the revenue streams, the expense streams, and as a council we will make some determinations about what will appear in the final budget that we will approve in June.”

The budget calendar includes workshops on April 18 at 6 p.m., April 29 at 6 p.m., and May 2 at 6 p.m., if needed, and a public hearing on May 9 at 6 p.m. on the night of the next council meeting.

In other highlights from last Thursday night’s meeting, the council:

  • Approved a resolution approving the conveyance of the Historic Nissen House from the Lewisville Historical Society to the Historic Nissen House Inc. Council member Julie Puckett thanked those involved and said: “I think without knowing our history, we can’t move forward into the future.”
  • Heard a presentation from Michelle McCullough, Historic Resources Officer for the City of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, and declared a proclamation that May would be Historic Preservation Month 2024 in Lewisville.
  • Approved a certificate of sufficiency for an annexation request for 2065 Glenn Ferry Court and then set a public hearing for June 13 at 6 p.m. to receive comments on UDO L-109 rezoning request by Brady Allen to rezone annexed property from RS-30 Forsyth County jurisdiction to RS-30 Lewisville jurisdiction.
  • Approved an ordinance to amend the budget to increase the allocation for Powell Bill street repairs and maintenance by $41,008 and a resolution to approve a contract with Hill’s Paving and Construction Inc. in the amount of $55,640 for repairs on Ridge Gate Drive.