Whiteville's city manager is proposing a budget that doesn't raise property taxes, solid waste fees or utility rates.
Larry Faison presented his recommended spending plan to city council during a workshop Thursday morning.
The budget is 2.8 percent larger than the current year, with the increase largely due to road work.
The recommended budget includes a $5 million general fund, $2.7 million utility fund, and $799,925 Powell Bill Fund, which is used for street paving and improvement.
Faison said the major challenges driving the budget process are:
The city manager's budget includes a total of $28,170 in special appropriations to non-profit organizations. Funds for Columbus County Arts Council, Vineland Depot, Whiteville Downtown Development Commission and Columbus County Dream Center would increase or remain unchanged.
Faison recommends reducing the city's allocation to Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Tourism from $5,000 to $1,500.
The city manager explained the chamber expanded its focus over the past year to serve the entire county. He said the chamber stopped hosting the Whiteville Christmas parade and wants to shift maintenance of the Welcome to Whiteville signs to the city.
The chamber also opted not to participate in a new online promotional project spearheaded by the city. Instead, the chamber will continue its "Discover Columbus First" marketing campaign, which markets the county to visitors and encourages local spending.
"Whiteville is our county seat. It is our business hub," said Chamber President Jennifer Holcomb. "The vast majority of our members come from Whiteville, so we will continue to promote them and all of the members here and the great business community that we have. We've expanded the focus to other areas because they were underserved."
Holcomb explained after evaluating the chamber's programs and events, her board determined the Christmas parade didn't create enough value for members. Peace Baptist Church agreed to organize the parade in 2013.
City council tentatively plans to hold a public hearing on the budget June 10 and adopt the spending plan June 24.
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