City of Beaufort to discuss 2014 budget Monday; trash fee increase, new vehicle fee possible

emoody@beaufortgazette.comJune 17, 2013 

A new vehicle fee and an increase in trash pick-up rates might be on the way as Beaufort City Council continues its search for ways to balance its 2014 budget.

City Council will discuss income and spending at 5 p.m. Monday in the planning conference room of City Hall, 1911 Boundary St.

The city is concerned about a possible deficit of between $600,000 and $700,000 caused by a combination of factors -- including the end of a special tax district downtown and an anticipated decrease in property values, city manager Scott Dadson said.

A more accurate number should be available in August, when Beaufort County releases results of its property reassessment.

Dadson had recommended two new fees, but one -- a public service fee for non-taxpaying entities such as churches, nonprofit organizations, schools and Beaufort Memorial Hospital -- raised protests.

The fee would have been equal to 0.1 percent of a property's assessed value and would have raised about $301,000. Council members did not seem interested in pursuing it further during a meeting Tuesday.

Less fuss has been made about a $40 transportation fee that Dadson recommended be levied on all vehicles registered in the city. That fee would bring in about $320,000.

However, the proposal for the fee appears to have been lowered to $25. The agenda mentions a proposed fee of $25 per vehicle, which would bring in about $200,000.

It also includes a proposal to increase trash collection rates to $16.20 per month, a hike of $2.70. The agenda does not indicate how much revenue that would generate.

Both fees are up for discussion during Tuesday's public hearing. The fees and the 2014 budget will be voted on for the first time afterward. Final votes are expected June 25.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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