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The Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen approved the town’s budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year during their June 11 meeting, setting the course for the town’s finances in the coming year.

This year’s budget maintains the town tax rate of 43 cents per $100 in property value, the lowest of any municipalities in Haywood County.

Notably missing from this year’s document is the debt service on the new Maggie Valley Police Station, as the final payment was built on the law enforcement building in last year’s budget. That leaves the town debt free in the coming year, providing numerous financial opportunities for growth and planning.

The largest expenditure for the town in the 2019-20 budget cycle is a major overhaul to the town’s software infrastructure, which currently operates on a seriously outdated system from 2001. The new system will allow the town and residents to interact more flexibly and the town will be able to track their operations much more efficiently once the upgrade goes live.

There are also significant funds dedicated to the study of future economic development initiatives. Town Manager Nathan Clark said these funds would allow the town to better analyze proposals for new developments and business initiatives, “turning the good ideas into items in the budget.”

The 2019-20 budget provides for three new vehicles in Maggie — a new police cruiser and an SUV for the police department, along with a backhoe for the town to use between the Public Works, Sewer and Roads departments.

Town employees will also see a pay boost in this budget, with a 6.8 percent overall boost in the budgeted amount for salaries targeting positions that are most regionally competitive in an effort to reduce turnover.

The board voted unanimously to approve the new budget, which goes into effect on July 1.

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