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Budget would shave spending, raise taxes

Posted on May 4, 2022

Updated on May 8, 2022

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The Zebulon Board of Commissioners meet on Monday.

Junious Smith III | The Wake Weekly

The Zebulon Board of Commissioners meet on Monday.

jsmith@wakeweekly.com | 919-424-1778

ZEBULON — Town Manager Joe Moore presented a roughly $14.6 million recommended budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, a decrease from the current year’s $15.06 million spending plan. 
Several infrastructure projects funded in 2021-22 account for the difference, Moore told the town Board of Commissioners during Monday’s meeting. 
“Last year, we used a considerable amount of fund balance,” Moore said. “We had a lot of capital projects funded through the balance such as the design of a couple of intersections — Old Bunn Road and Sheppard School Road and Green Pace Road and Arendell Avenue. We also had sidewalk improvements, our annual street repaving project and an evaluation for a second fire station.”
The budget includes a proposed 2 ½-cent property tax increase, boosting the town’s tax rate from 55 cents to 57.5 cents per $100 in property valuation. The revenue increase would help Zebulon add police officer and firefighter positions along with an economic development specialist, engineer and park maintenance worker.
“The biggest thing is we’re a growing town, and we have to grow in both capacity and capability,” Moore said. “There are a lot of position requests, positions that have been coming for a while now, but things we have to move on. We’re doing things as creatively as possible to try to get through, but with the population growing so much, we have to fund necessary positions.”
The first budget work session is scheduled for May 10, with two more set before a June 6 public hearing. The budget must be adopted no later than July 1 to start the new fiscal year. 
PLANNING BOARD APPOINTMENTS
Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint two members to Zebulon’s planning board: Stephanie Jenkins and Genia Newkirk. Planning Director Mike Clark offered high praise for Jenkins, who previously served on the panel.  
“She’s been our ETJ (extraterritorial jurisdiction) representative and done a phenomenal job, so we were excited to see her get reappointed,” Clark said.
Clark shared similar sentiments about Newkirk.
“She served on our Board of Adjustment and Parks and Recreation Board and has done a great job with both entities,” he said. 
Newkirk relinquished her Board of Adjustment position to serve on the Planning Board, which she said she’s eager to join.
“It means a lot,” Newkirk said. “I’m new to Zebulon, so it’s an opportunity to learn and expose myself to the growth here. It’s amazing to be a part of a small town erupting the way Zebulon is, and meeting different people they’ve told me how this city has grown over the years.”
The town’s population is 6,903, according to 2020 census figures, an increase of nearly 2,500 people from its recorded population of 4,433 in 2010.

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