Woodfin passes budget with tax increase

By Benjamin Cohn

Woodfin – Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Giezentanner led last week’s monthly meeting of Woodfin’s Board of Aldermen because Mayor Jerry Vehaun was still recovering from surgery on both of his knees. The single most significant issue discussed was the town’s budget proposal totaling $4.9m. The increase in property taxes of five cents added to the current tax burden of 28 cents per $100 in valuation makes the new tax rate 33 cents (more on this later in the story).

The board first voted to approve the agenda and the minutes from the last meeting. Giezentanner allotted time for a public forum, although none chose to speak. The board announced that Woodfin is now seeking applications to the town’s Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment, as one of its members, Ed Wolfson, has put forth his resignation. “He’s moving to Charlotte to be closer to his grandkids,” Town Administrator Jason Young explained.
The Aldermen also moved to renew its contract with an audit services firm, a group described by Young as a firm with which the town has done business over the past several years. The firm is, apparently, “longwinded but thorough,” according to Young.

The town’s budget of nearly $5m is broken down into several discrete portions. The costliest of the town’s expenditures set its police budget, more than $1.5m, environmental services totaling $978,000 and administration fees in the amount of nearly $800,000.

“As you can see, bond debt is a new section this year, section five. It outlines that we will be borrowing, or anticipate borrowing, half of our total revenue this year. That would give us a bond expense estimate of $225,000 a year on roughly $2.25m,” Young explained.

Giezentanner chimed in, reminding the board that the bond is “exactly what the voters agreed to.”
Young expanded on the bond issue. “You can see there outlined, that’s where that money comes from. [A] tax rate of 33 cents represents a five-cent tax increase. Two and a half cents of that is a tax increase based on a vote … to pass the bond issuance. That was passed in 2016, and now we’re in a position to start spending that money.”
Woodfin Police Chief Michael Dykes laid out his plan to save money by leasing police vehicles from Enterprise, a method that will reduce the cost of maintenance and increase the resale value of the cars once they’re no longer in use.

Last week’s brief meeting concluded with the unanimous approval of the 2019-2020 budget. No departmental reports were given at that time.

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Clint Parker

Publisher & Editor Weaverville Tribune

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