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City of Morganton

Budget approved, CoMMA gets masterplan

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Morganton city seal in council chambers

The Morganton City Council approved its budget Monday night, along with a handful of other items.

The unanimously approved budget will see tax rates hold at 57 cents per $100 of value for city residents, with the special downtown tax rate holding at 14 cents per $100 of value.

Water and wastewater rates will see slight increases of 4% each, while electric rates will drop 5.5%. CoMPAS cable saw no rate increase for the first time in years under the new budget, and residential phone customers will see a $3 per month rate drop. Those rate changes will go into effect Aug. 1.

Council members also approved several pay changes for city employees, including a 4% cost-of-living increase. They also approved bumping up pay ranges 2.5%.

A few positions saw their pay grades increase, including the public safety director position.

That position, which still is open, now has a pay range of $91,118 to $136,677.

Rus Scherer, the city’s human resources director, told The News Herald there are seven candidates from up and down the East Coast who still are in the running for the position. The city hopes to have the next chief tapped by August.

Other pay range changes saw the distribution and collection system operator position and the senior distribution and collection system operator position move up a grade so they would make the same as water and wastewater operators.

Council members also approved setting the pay for the American Rescue Plan Act and special projects manager position at $71,393 to $107,090.

Monday night’s special-called meeting also has set up the stage for CoMMA to get a master plan.

Council members approved a contract worth $64,500 with DLR Group, a North Carolina-based group, to work with the city to develop a master plan that will aim to maximize use of the facility and take advantage of marketing and programming opportunities.

The city already had set aside $75,000 for a master plan for the auditorium and performing arts center in the upcoming budget.

Also approved Monday night were:

  • Changing Stony Place to a one-way street, with traffic flowing from King Street to South Sterling Street.
  • Re-adopting the Mission 2030 Masterplan to ensure the city stays in compliance with state law while it develops its next master plan.
  • Year-end budget amendments.

The council will not meet again until August.

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at cmurphy@morganton.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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