By CASEY FABRIS

ROCKY MOUNT — No Franklin County residents offered their opinions Tuesday on the proposed 2019-20 budget and tax rates.

It was a stark contrast to last spring when a suggested hike to the real estate rate, which was ultimately adopted, drew many speakers and large crowd to the public hearing.

During a Tuesday night public hearing, Interim County Administrator Chris Whitlow offered an overview of the $143.8 million budget, which calls for no tax increases.

Last year, the board raised the real estate tax rate by 6 cents, bringing it to 61 cents per $100 of assessed value. It also increased the personal property tax rate by 10 cents, setting it at $2.46 per $100 of assessed value.

Beyond the revenue generated by those increases, the county has experienced only minimal growth, Whitlow said. The 2019-20 budget shows 1.34 percent growth over the current year.

The budget allocates $87.4 million to the school division — nearly 61 percent of the county’s overall expenditures. Still, it’s less than school officials had hoped for.

The school board adopted an operating budget of $90.9 million, in which it sought an additional $3.8 million in additional funding from the local government. It also requested the standard $1.2 million in capital funding.

The board voted unanimously to adopt the unchanged tax rates Tuesday night, and is scheduled to adopt the budget April 23.

In other news:

The board unanimously voted to update Whitlow’s employment agreement to reflect his new title and salary. A copy of the agreement was not immediately available, but County Attorney Jim Guynn said Whitlow would be paid $135,000 as interim county administrator, a position he was named to earlier this month.

County websites will get a refresh that will address both aesthetics and security after supervisors voted to approve a contract for the work with CivicPlus, a company that specializes in local government websites. Economic Development Director Michael Burnette said the county would pay approximately $33,000 to the company for the next three years, and that funding for the first two years has already been identified.

Burnette also gave the board an update on the work at Summit View Business Park. Ten projects will be active between April and June, he said. They will include the installation of streetlights, construction of the recreation pavilion, road work and painting of silos, among other things.

A Moneta couple was granted a special-use permit for a home coffee roasting business in the Gills Creek District. Kyle and Lyndsay Deitrick plan to roast the coffee and sell it online or to local restaurants and cafes, but not from their home.

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