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Morrisville budget-makers struggling in wake of residents' outcry about first proposal

Town leaders worked on the 2008-09 budget until almost midnight, but will need to return Thursday night to wrap it up.

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MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Morrisville town leaders will reconvene Thursday night to work on the town budget.

Leaders met Wednesday after residents voiced their opposition to the initial proposal. After working until almost midnight, they were unable to reach a conclusion and will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“They made a drastic impact,” Mayor Jan Faulkner said of residents' opposition.

The public outcry at a Town Hall meeting last week led the Board of Commissioners to unanimously reject the proposed budget Tuesday evening.

“We went down to show our support for the community,” Pastor Roy Smith, with Calvary Baptist Church said.

Smith even canceled Wednesday evening service last week so his parishioners could have a voice at the meeting.

“It was good for us to show we were interested in our taxes not being raised,” he said.

Morrisville commissioners had proposed the largest tax increase in Wake County. The budget included a $3.4 million spending increase.

After Wake County's property reassessment, homeowners in Morrisville saw property values go up by 38 percent. The more a home is worth, the higher the tax bill.

With Morrisville's proposed tax rate, homeowners could have had a 19 percent increase in their property tax bills.

Faulkner has said the increase is necessary to help the city keep pace with other Wake County towns.

“We need a downtown, and residents have said we need a downtown. We need a cultural arts facility. We're working towards that, but I think we need to slow the pace,” Faulkner said Wednesday.

Town leaders have until June 30 to come up with a new budget.

“That's the way it was supposed to work – elected officials recognizing what their residents want and respond appropriately,” resident Jackie Holcombe said.

Town leaders said major developments, like a  new Wal-Mart, are part of the town's long-range financial plan to generate additional revenue and ease the tax burden on residential taxpayers.


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