By CASEY FABRIS

The Rocky Mount Town Council adopted a $10.5 million operating budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

The operating budget includes the general and utility funds, along with money allocated to the Harvester Performance Center.

A public hearing last week on the budget and tax rate, which was set to remain level, drew no speakers.

The budget was adopted on a 6-1 vote Monday night, with council member Bobby Cundiff voting against doing so. The tax rates were adopted unanimously.

One of the most notable changes to the budget is a 10% reduction in funding to the Harvester, part of the effort to scale back the town’s financial support as the music venue grows more successful. The Harvester is also set to begin paying monthly rent to the town.

The music venue, envisioned as an economic engine for Rocky Mount, just marked its five-year anniversary last month. Council members are scheduled to receive a report on its finances at a work session next week.

The council also voted on Monday night to add a portion of the North Main Street corridor to its arts and culture district.

The matter was first brought to council in March and then referred to the community and economic development committee, which recommended the district be extended.

Members of the district are entitled to certain benefits, including an annual rebate of a percentage of all gross receipts taxes. The rebate was previously offered for three years, but the committee recommended extending it to five years. In the first year, the rebate is 50% and it decreases by 10% every year thereafter.

The town ordinance was updated to reflect both changes. It was unanimously approved by council.

The incentives are granted to businesses or nonprofits within the district that qualify as arts and culture organizations, such as theaters, art galleries, museums, live music venues or dance studios, according to the town ordinance.

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