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Knightdale $22 million budget ups fire department spending

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KNIGHTDALE — The Knightdale Town Council unanimously approved a $22.28 million annual spending plan last week.

The total budget is spread across the general, storm water, capital reserve and water and sewer funds.

The tax rate is 42 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation. This rate is about 7 cents above the revenue-neutral tax rate and 1 cent less than the 2019-20 tax rate. A person who owns a $265,000 house will owe $2,703 in city and county taxes, according to Town Manager Bill Summers.

The council approved the budget June 17.

The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to prepare a budget, Summers said. Revenues are down because of the crisis. The budget assumes the tax collection rate will fall and that sales tax will remain flat.

Some staffing and associated costs are budgeted with the understanding that the town will look at its economic conditions mid-year.

The town will reconsider approving any capital projects that would cost more than $40,000 in January.

“If we got into a situation in the fall where the economic forecast was, unfortunately, a lot more dire than we anticipated, we got built-in here about $1.4 million in contingencies that we can back out of this budget to account for any shortfalls in revenues,” Summers said.

The police department budget is $4.07 million, on par with the 2019-20 budget. The fire department budget saw a substantial increase to $4.34 million, because the town is absorbing Eastern Wake Fire Department and expanding Knightdale’s fire department with a second company. Around $1.8 million of that is funded by the county.

Mayor Pro Tem Jessica Day moved for the budget to be accepted, which Councilor Ben McDonald seconded.

Town hall may reopen

The council also heard a tentative reopening plan from Assistant Town Manager Suzanne Yeatts. If everything goes according to plan, the town offices would reopen Aug. 3 at the earliest. Social distancing would be in effect indefinitely, Yeatts added.

Town hall lobby would be limited to seven customers. There will be a Plexiglas guard at the service window.

The upstairs waiting room would be limited to one customer with a Plexiglas guard at the customer service window and cubicle walls enclosing workspaces.

The Harper Park office will limit the lobby to one customer at a time with a Plexiglas guard at the service window while the town pool would also have a Plexiglas guard installed at the gate entry window.

Town offices would follow guidelines from state and federal officials, including allowing some employees to continue working from home, offering gloves and masks and setting up hand sanitizing stations.

At the meeting, the council also:

  • Approved a rezoning request for Poplar Creek Village Phase 4 unanimously. Fifty-five single-family homes are planned for the 17.5 acres on Clifton Road.
  • Approved unanimously a development rezoning for Parkstone Townhomes. The developer asked for 15.7 acres to be rezoned from Highway Business Conditional to Residential Mixed Use to allow for 148-unit townhome development. The other 11 acres will remain Highway Business for retail.
  • Tabled a zoning map amendment request for the Collection planned unit development until July 15.