The Orange City Council tentatively has agreed to add Veterans Day as a holiday for city employees.
The extra holiday will cost the city about $25,000.
Single-Member District 1 Councilor Pat Pullen, a retired police captain and a Marine Corps veteran, had asked the city staff to research how many holidays other cities and counties in the region mark.
The survey showed Orange and Pinehurst with 10 holidays each, the least number. Most of the area cities have 11 or 12 holidays.
The City of West Orange and Orange County had the most holidays with 14 each.
Interim City Manager Kelvin Knauf suggested Veterans Day as a holiday for employees. Pullen said veterans will appreciate the recognition.
The council met Thursday in another budget workshop. City Finance Director Cheryl Zeto gave the schedule for approving a new budget, which will go into effect on October 1.
The City Council will conduct the first public hearing for the tax rate on August 22 and the second public hearing on September 10. Both are regularly scheduled meetings.
The council will need a special called meeting to vote on the first reading of the budget. She suggested September 17. Then the final reading on the bdget will be made during the regular September 24 meeting.
Pullen suggested having one of the public hearings at 8 at night so people who work can attend. The usual council meetings are held at 9 in the morning and 5:30 in the afternoon. However, other council members said 8 is too late for families at night and suggested a night meeting at 7 might suffice. No decision was made, though.
Public Works Director Jim Wolf said water and sewer rates will remain the same for the upcoming year with no increase. The water and sewer fund, which is called an “enterprise fund” because the department runs on the income from customers.
He told the council the proposed budget in the enterprise fund includes $180,000 to replace the digital control center at the Jackson Street sewer plant. The current system is 20 years old.
The city also plans to spend $275,000 to clean and repaint the Strickland Drive water tower for an estimated $275,000. That water storage tower is on City of Pinehurst land, but belongs to Orange.
The council is looking at a property tax rate that is two-tenths of a penny more than the current rate, but it has to be advertised as an 8 percent increase because of state law and the effective tax rate. The property tax income is used in the “general fund” to pay for city services like police and fire protection, parks, administration, the library, streets, and other departments.
The proposed rate is 80.7 cents per $100 valuation and the current rate is 80.5 cents per $100 valuation. The city plans to use the additional income to pay for $370,000 on drainage projects, $200,000 to demolish the old Cove School on DuPont Drive, and more than $100,000 on Northway Park.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-