Hickory’s Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Recommended Budget
City Manager Warren Wood delivered his Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-2023 Recommended Budget to the Hickory City Council on May 17. The Recommended Budget totals $126,206,168 for all City operations, capital improvements, and debt service requirements for the upcoming year. This represents an 8.9 percent increase over the current year’s budget.
Key components of the budget include:
- General Fund (Main Operating Fund): A budget of $63,141,435 is recommended, which represents a 7 percent increase over the current year’s budget. The property tax rate for FY2022-2023 is recommended to remain 62.75 cents per $100 of assessed value. A new property tax rate is anticipated with the FY2023-2024 annual budget due to the County-wide revaluation of property that will take effect during that fiscal year. Significant increases in property values are expected in Catawba County’s next revaluation, which will likely result in a reduction of Hickory’s current property tax rate.
- Water and Sewer Fund: A 3 percent increase in utility rates is recommended to maintain infrastructure and the enterprise fund’s self-sufficiency, while still maintaining a competitive rate when compared to systems across the state. The average utility bill for a Hickory customer is $57.68; this rate increase will result in an increase of $1.73 per month on the average utility bill.
- Solid Waste Fund: An increase of $1.00 is recommended to bring the monthly sanitation rate up to $26.00 per month for the upcoming fiscal year. The Solid Waste Fund is self-supporting, and this increase will help to offset increases in fuel and labor costs.
“With the vision of City Council and with the community’s support in approving the Bond Measure in 2014, we began a journey to improve the quality of life offered in our community that would attract and retain a quality workforce and create new investment. Today, our local economy is in the process of being transformed into a strong and diversified engine that is attracting new international investment, investment from well-established companies who have called Hickory home for generations, and, as importantly, investment from small start-ups who believe in where Hickory is headed,” said Wood.
“We are seeing growth in our property tax base, jobs, housing, and population. The recently released U.S. News Best Places to Live rankings for Hickory confirm that the investments the City and residents are making in our community are yielding positive results. This Recommended Budget for FY2022-2023 will keep us on the path to completing the various Bond Projects that began in 2014. However, we need to start the process of thinking about the ‘what’s next’ after the Bond Projects are completed,” added Wood. “If we have learned one thing through our experiences over the last 20 years, it is that we cannot rest on our laurels, and we must always develop new strategies to improve our community and create new opportunities, so everyone has the chance for a better life here in Hickory.”
History of the City’s 2014 General Obligations (GO) bonds:
- November 2014 - the citizens of Hickory approved two GO bond referendums
- $25 million for streets and sidewalks
- $15 million for economic development
- September 2018 - the City issued $15 million in GO bonds
- July 2019 - City Council approved 2-cent property tax rate increase to service bonded debt
- November 2019 - the City issued another $15 million in GO bonds
- July 2021 - City Council approved 4-cent property tax rate increase to service bonded debt
- September 2021 - the City issued the remaining $10 million in GO bonds
- Debt service payments are now being made on the total $40 million
The full FY2022-2023 Recommended Budget is available for review online at https://www.hickorync.gov/budget.
The Hickory City Council welcomes public input and will hold a public hearing on the FY2022-2023 Recommended Budget on Tuesday, June 7, at 7 p.m., during its regular City Council meeting at the Julian G. Whitener Municipal Building.