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Creedmoor board adopts $4.4M budget in split vote

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CREEDMOOR — After spending nearly 30 hours across multiple meetings discussing the budget, a majority of city commissioners Wednesday gave a thumbs up to a $4.4 million budget.

The vote was split 3-2 with Mayor Pro Tem Del Mims and Commissioner Ed Mims in opposition.

The budget does not include a tax rate increase. The tax rate will remain 61.5 cents per $100 valuation of taxable property.

Without a tax increase, the budget is balanced by pulling from the city’s rainy day savings. Creedmoor’s commissioners have been battling over how much to pull from the fund balance.

After several marathon meetings this month, the board and city manager whittled down the use of fund balance.

The operating budget — $3.7 million in spending — is balanced with $47,000 of fund balance, down from the more than $500,000 originally proposed in one of three scenarios presented to the board.

The final sticking point was spending for the town’s Recreation Fund. The city will spend $349,000 on recreation spending, as it prepares to open up the Creedmoor Community Center. That is balanced with another $183,000 in fund balance spending.

The Recreation Fund also spends on recreation programming and Lake Rogers Park.

Del Mims wanted to remove the new recreation director position and replace it with a program and activities manager — or at least change the title.

Ed Mims wanted to know what roles and responsibilities the recreation director would have.

Commissioner Kechia Brustmeyer-Brown said she like the idea of the title change, but was concerned if the position was not filled and if the city opens the facility, would there be enough staff to operated the facility.

With the COVID-19 pandemic in place, the ability to open the Community Center is up in the air. According to Korena Weichel, city manager, the Community Center may be physically ready to open in September, but she wasn’t sure what capacity the building would be allowed to hold.

Weichel said the Community Center would be able to be open without hiring a recreation director, but with limited hours of coverage and programming.

Mayor Bobby Wheeler interjected that there needed to be coverage to provide the residents recreational and other programming that was needed and to ensure the proper operation of the city’s investment.

Weichel reminded the board that the recreation director position would not be filled until a month before there was a firm opening date.

Creedmoor is counting on rental of the event rooms and monies from the use of the Senior Center portion of the building as a part of the recreation revenue.

The budget includes the addition of positions for recreation and public works staff necessary to manage facilities and amenities recently completed or nearing completion of construction including Lake Rogers Park Improvements, Cross City Trail, and the Creedmoor Community Center.

Ultimately, the budget was approved with the recreation director position.

The final budget plans for $3.7 million in operating expenses, $250,000 on Stormwater Fund spending and $89,000 in the Powell Bill Fund, which is state-provided money for road projects. Along with the recreation funding, the total Creedmoor budget registers $4,433,264.

A police officer position is budgeted for mid-year recruitment, due to residential growth.

The board also approved the Fees and Rate Schedule at the June 17 meeting.

The Creedmoor board plans to meet at 6 p.m. on July 7. This may be a virtual meeting.