While the City of Greensboro and Guilford County are still attempting to bang out their 2019-2020 budgets, on Thursday, June 6, the Town of Oak Ridge beat them to the punch by adopting a $2.2 million budget with no tax increase on a unanimous vote of the Town Council.

The budget adopted for the town of about 7,000 residents in the county’s northwest was very close to the town budget proposed at the end of May by Oak Ridge Town Manager Bill Bruce.

After the vote, Oak Ridge Town Councilmember George McClellan called the budget a “conservative” one that, he said, meets the needs of the citizens without raising taxes.  Under the just adopted budget, the town’s tax rate remains at 8 cents per $100 of assessed property values.

McClellan said that, for him, some of the highlights of the budget were the $134,000 for operations and maintenance of the town park, about $277,000 for new park land and $300,000 for the Mountains to Sea Trail.

“This project will include planning and construction of a half mile of sidewalk along Haw River Road – from where the trail intersects with Haw River Road to Pepper Road,” he said.  “Then, from Haw River Road, along Pepper Road, until just over the Haw River.”

He added that there will also be about a mile of off-road trail along the Haw River and the project will include a bridge and boardwalk.

Oak Ridge has also been working with the NC Department of Transportation to improve its traffic situation in certain congested spots in town. The new budget allocates $400,000 for improving the key intersection of NC 150 and NC 68 as well as for related work. The town needed to provide matching funds for project money from the NC DOT.

That intersection renovation should reduce congestion, promote bicycle and pedestrian safety and also beautify the landscape.

McClellan said the town’s new budget meets the balanced budget requirements in the state’s constitution and said it manages to accomplish a lot despite no tax increase.

“We’re the poster child for conservative government,” he said.