CLAYTON — For the second year in a row, sales-tax revenue is up, Town Manager Steve Biggs told the town council last week.
We did hit budget, and we were over budget, Biggs said.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the town budgeted $2.49 million in sales-tax revenue. Instead, it collected $2.55 million, an increase of $62,000.
This is our second year since weve grown out of the recession that weve seen an increase in sales-tax revenue, Biggs said.
Growth in sales-tax revenue is important, Biggs said later, because it reduces or eliminates the need for a property-tax rate increase.
Property taxes come only from in-town property owners, while sales-tax receipts come not only from Clayton residents but also from people shopping in town, Biggs said.
Also, property-tax rate increases impact people regardless of whether their income increases, whereas people who realize increases in revenue have more disposable income (to spend) and thereby pay more sales tax, he said.
In Clayton, Biggs said, growth in sales-tax revenue has allowed the town to pay for full-time engine crews in the fire department. In doing so, we have decreased response time and added services, he said.
If not for growth in general revenue increases, including sales-tax revenues, we would not have been able to do that, Biggs added.
Sales-tax revenues are also allowing the town to mow and maintain seven miles of new greenways without raising property taxes, Biggs said.
Art board wants help
Also last week, the chairwoman of Claytons Public Art Advisory Board asked the council to increase the number of board members from five to nine.
We need more hands on deck, said Suzette Rodriguez.
Specifically, she said, the board needs more people to take on new roles in marketing, event planning, fundraising and project coordination.
The council told Rodriguez it would discuss her request. In Clayton, the mayor appoints members of the arts board. Membership is open to local residents with an interest in art.
Rodriguez also mentioned projects the art board would like to pursue.
Wed like to continue our Downtown Sculpture Trail and do another installment of student art along the rails at Sams Branch Greenway, she said.
Also, the art board wants to auction the butterflies currently adorning the greenway. Proceeds would go to an art project involving artist Georges Le Chevallier and students at Clayton High School and Polenta Elementary School. Le Chevallier created the sculpture and benches on the greenway.
We want to take down the butterflies before they are weathered, Rodriguez said.
Also at the meeting,, town attorney Katherine Ross said she continues to have contact with residents who have refused to grant easements for the Clayton-to-Raleigh sewer project. The town had given property owners a deadline to grant the easements or face legal action.
Their 30 days was up last week, and I think there will be one or two resolutions of the seven that are pending, Ross said. We are prepared to move forward and file complaints by next week.
Since last fall, the town has been negotiating with 41 property owners for easements needed for a sewer line that will carry up to 1 million gallons daily to a City of Raleigh sewage-treatment plant. Seven property owners have balked at granting easements, and the town is taking the legal steps needed to obtain the easements under eminent domain.