The annual operating budget gives Apex town officials the authority to collect revenue and make expenditures, depending on the priorities of the council, community, and staff.
Current Operating Budget
The fiscal year 2021-22 budget (PDF) appropriates funds to be used from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.
- Total budget (all funds): $162,074,500
- General Fund: 79,091,900
- Electric: 45,774,200
- Water & Sewer: 23,772,000
- Non-major & Capital Fund: 13,484,400
- Property tax rate: $.39, an increase of $.01 from last year
- Garbage, recycling, and yard waste services fees increase by $0.82 / month
- Electric rate: unchanged from last year
- Water rates: unchanged from last year
- Sewer rate: 1.5% increase from last year
Strategic Goal Alignment
In preparing the FY21-22 budget, town staff followed guidance from Town Council’s strategic goals to develop a proactive budget that will balance improving current town programs and services with development of new programs and projects.
High Performing Government
We will deliver exceptional, responsive, and effective services by attracting and empowering a knowledgeable and diverse workforce that values transparency, financial stewardship, and collaboration with community, regional, and state partners.
Budget Items Related to this Goal:
- Merit pay raises between 0%-4%, depending on performance
- New hire training programs
- Streamlined Onboarding process
- Addition of 20 full time staff throughout departments
- Capacity building through Limited Service Employees, NC Lead Fellowship & internship programs
We will leverage partnerships to create a supportive environment for current businesses, and form relationships that foster new and continued economic opportunities in Apex
Budget Items Related to this Goal:
- Implement the Downtown Master Plan
- Begin alley project(s)
- Downtown Coworking Station
- Downtown Façade Grant Program
- Downtown Development Promotion and Marketing
Healthy and Engaged Community
We will promote the overall well-being of our residents and visitors with welcoming public spaces and high-quality recreational facilities and cultural activities; we will forge meaningful connections that fulfill a range of our community’s needs.
Budget Items Related to this Goal:
- Implement Neighborhood Grant Program
- Institute Mayor Internship / Engagement Program
- Complete Greenway Connections
- Update P&R Master Plan
- Introduce Annual Greenway Allocation
Safe Community and Reliable Infrastructure
We will ensure safe neighborhoods with reliable infrastructure through proactive, professional, and engaged public safety and infrastructure services.
Budget Items Related to this Goal:
- Connect Residents to Needed Services (Especially in Crisis)
- Non-profit support
- Vision Zero Initiative
- Create one-stop-shop for assistance
- Promote Trust & Transparency by Engaging & Informing the Public
- Community Engagement Specialist
- Create DIB Program
- Diversity & Inclusion Officer Position
- GARE Membership & Tru Access Rap Sessions
- New Hire Diversity Training
Environmental Leadership and Responsible Development
We will plan our built environment in a way that respects and preserves natural resources and the small-town character of our community; we will offer housing and transportation options so that anyone who chooses to live in Apex can.
Budget Items Related to this Goal:
- Implement Transit Plan
- Operating Cost for Transit Program
- NCDOT S-Line Transit Oriented Development project
- Downtown interim bus stop (GoTriangle) enhancements
- Implement Affordable Housing Plan
- Housing Program Manager, Housing & Community Programs Specialist
- Increase annual allocations to affordable housing fund
- Be a Leader in Renewable Energy & Conservation
- Develop strategic plan to compare costs and energy savings
- Plan for fleet management and conversion
- Zero Waste Operations Goal
- Town Community Garden Pilot
- Town Living Wall Pilot
- Green Revolving Fund (Initial start-up)
- Stream Restoration (Apex Nature Park)
- Tree Planting Program
Major Projects / Expenditures
Annual Pavement Management – Street Resurfacing ($1,871,000)
The Town is responsible for maintaining over 220 miles of municipal streets with the annual resurfacing contract providing for most of the pavement maintenance needs. Street mileage is growing annually with ongoing development. This annual program addresses deficiencies in pavement condition throughout Apex to prevent issues such as potholes, alligator cracking, and rutting in order to provide a safe and reliable transportation system. The Powell Bill program provides an annual funding allocation from the state based on public centerline miles of road accepted and maintained by the Town. Current and future resurfacing costs continue to exceed Powell Bill allocations. The proposed bond referendum includes $5.0 million to address a backlog of pavement management projects.
Apex Peakway Southwest Connector ($25,500,000)
This project completes a gap in the Apex Peakway by spanning South Salem Street and the CSX S-Line with a four-lane bridge to connect the existing sections of the Peakway. The existing intersection at South Salem Street will be relocated to a new a four-lane loop road connector. Sidewalk will connect along the Peakway on both sides of the bridge, both sides of the new loop road, and along the north side of South Salem Street. Town Council has identified this project as one of its highest priorities but the costs and lack of outside funding have made beginning construction difficult. Funds from a 2015 bond referendum along with some Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP) funding cover approximately $10.50 million of project costs. The proposed bond referendum would provide the remaining $15.0 million needed to fund the project.
Downtown Parking Expansion ($1,200,000)
The Downtown Master Plan identifies goals to add 100 and 200 parking spaces within a three- or five- minute walk of downtown, respectively. To meet those goals and ensure adequate parking downtown, the Town is planning to add to and improve existing parking lots. Completing this project is critical to the Town moving forward with other downtown projects, including the Salem Street Streetscape and Resurfacing project.
Downtown Alley Improvements ($500,000)
The Downtown Plan envisions creating vibrant places for people to gather by transforming the alley spaces along Commerce Street and Seaboard Street. Improving these spaces was identified as a "Top 10" priority in the plan. Truly engaging and activated spaces will require public and private investment. The Town is planning to consolidate dumpster enclosures, improve pedestrian facilities, enhance landscaping, and add decorative pavement treatments for public right-of-way.
Public Safety Station 6 ($6,500,000)
Public Safety Station 6 will provide fire and emergency services to the White Oak Basin and Green Level areas of Apex. Development trends indicate construction of 2,100 new homes will occur in this area within the next few years. Response times from Fire Station 3 do not meet our standards due to the physical distance from the station to the area. This station will feature a new design to meet the needs of both fire and police departments. Station 6 will house a new engine and 12-14 fire personnel.
Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources
Annual Greenway Allocation ($300,000)
This is a new, ongoing program to allow for the study, prioritization, and design of proposed greenway connections. This program is a direct response to increasing greenway request from residents and Town Council.
Smart Grid Meters & Load Control ($2,000,000)
This project provides an end-to-end solution for wireless smart grid and advanced metering. It will provide the ability to manage and monitor our electrical service customers by utilizing high speed, standards-based communications to access real-time data. In addition to advanced metering, this project will also provide updated load control devices, thermostats, and street light control hardware. The software provides meter data, network, load control, streetlight, and outage and customer portal management all in one easy to use platform.
System Fault Indicators ($130,000)
This project utilizes technology to help improve the town’s response to outages by allowing first responders to quickly identify location of faults on our distribution system. Utilizing cellular technology coupled with electronic fault indicators, the town’s response is increased by correctly locating the point of the disturbance prior to the service technician being dispatched. Coupled with our SCADA system, we will be able to reduce the customer’s outage time significantly. This project address two of our major strategic areas of focus; Customer Satisfaction and Integration of Technology.
Water & Sewer
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) ($900,000)
This project continues to deploy AMI interfaces for all water meters. Upgrading to AMI technology will allow staff to take meter readings from a fixed location and have the readings enter directly into billing software. Phases 2 -5 include funds to transition to AMI and continue replacement of meters older than 10 years old. Tied with our proposed electric meter replacement, this project will allow us to deploy an advanced outage management system to greatly improve service to our customers. Originally, this project was envisioned as a phased approach to convert the town's existing AMR (Drive-by meter reading) system to an AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) system. The first phase was to upgrade the existing meter interface units (MIUs) and some older meters. With this approach, the town would remain with its current AMR vendor through the transition to AMI. However, over the last year it has proven more prudent to take a more holistic approach to transitioning to AMI. In addition to considering other AMI vendors, the Water Resources and Electric Utilities departments have determined it is both feasible and in the towns best interest to pursue a combined AMI system (to read both electric and water meters). Thus, we have halted active upgrades to the AMR system and have begun working with the Electric Utilities Department to evaluate and select an AMI vendor. We expect to complete the selection process and begin systemwide implementation in the spring/summer of 2020. The operational, customer service, and financial benefits of AMI have proven well worth the cost for many utilities who have already implemented the technology. Not funding this request would simply prevent the town from realizing these benefits.
Cash-Perkins Outfall ($2,325,000)
This project includes construction of a gravity sewer main extending through the Cash-Perkins property, connecting to the future Upper Middle Creek Gravity Interceptor and regional pump station to construct for Horton Park. This gravity sewer will allow both the Cash-Perkins and Pinnacle Park Pump Stations to be taken off line, resulting in a reduction of approximately $50,000 in annual maintenance costs. This project is in compliance with the adopted Master Sewer Plan.
Elevated Water Storage Tank – 1.5 MG ($3,443,000)
This project include construction of a 1.5 million gallon elevated storage tank to ensure we meet the State's minimum requirement for elevated storage.
Western Transmission Main – Phase III ($2,050,000)
Phase III of the Western Transmission Main Project will be the final phase of this project. The project includes the following sections: 900 feet of 20-inch waterline on Salem Street from Apex BBQ Road to the Peakway, and 3,000 feet of 20-inch waterline on Old US 1 from West Village to Holland Road. The primary purpose of Phase III work is to provide adequate water flow at a manageable pressure to the entire water system as western portions of Apex, south of Olive Chapel Road, develop and demand grows. This work will also ensure that adequate flow and proper velocities are maintained in the other areas of Apex as growing demand to the west pulls water in that direction.
For more information, view the Town of Apex Capital Improvement Projects document which shows a yearly outline of current capital improvement projects.
You might consider the annual operating budget to be the town’s most important work product. It gives Apex town officials the authority to collect revenue and make expenditures, depending on the priorities of the council, staff, and community.
By June 30 each year, the council is required by state law to approve the budget for the coming fiscal year (July 1 - June 30). Staff begins estimating revenues and expenses for the coming year, and seeks public input beginning in January. Generally by May, the Manager has a draft budget complete for Council’s review and public comment.
Typically, the General Fund includes services that cannot be operated as a business enterprise and rely on tax dollars as their primary source of revenue. Most of the town’s General Fund revenues come from ad valorem (property) tax, and State-collected revenue (such as the state sales tax), permits & fees, restricted & unrestricted intergovernmental revenues, fund balance allocation and miscellaneous revenues.
The Town of Apex operates two major funds as enterprises - the Electric Fund and the Water and Sewer Fund. Enterprise funds operate similar to a business and are self-sustaining with user rates and fees that generate all revenues to cover expenditures.
All expenditures related to day-to-day operations of the town come from the General Fund. Capital projects, such as the construction of roads, parks, and other public facilities, are also budgeted with General Fund dollars. Any expenses related to the maintenance and operation of water, sewer, and electric services come not from the General Fund, but instead from their respective Utility Funds. The Town’s 21 General Fund departments and divisions can be grouped into the following six primary function areas:
- Public Safety: 33%
- General Government: $13%
- Economic & Physical Development: 15%
- Transportation: 11%
- Debt Service: 10%
- Cultural & Recreation: 10%
- Environmental Protection: 8%
The town’s fund balance is much like a savings account, as compared to a household budget. If the town brings in more revenues than expected or spends less than the budgeted expenditures, then at the end of a budget year these differences, or extra funds, become part of this savings account that constitutes the fund balance.
The North Carolina Local Government Commission requires all North Carolina municipalities to maintain at least 8% of 1 year’s general fund operating expenses in their Fund Balance. The town’s policy is to maintain that ratio at 25% as a minimum. From time to time, the Town will use money from fund balance to cover one-time expenses such as specific capital items. The Town evaluates any decision to use fund balance carefully and often plans the use in advance to ensure adherence to the Town’s fund balance policy.
The FY21-22 Recommended Budget includes a fund balance allocation of $1,549,000. This amount includes $649,000 for a fire engine replacement, $400,000 for Tunstall House Restoration, and $500,000 for the Downtown Alley Improvement project.
It is important to maintain a healthy fund balance. Bond Rating Agencies analyze a municipality’s practice of fund balance usage and adherence to their fund balance policy. These agencies have been quite pleased with Apex’s fund balance maintenance:
- Standard and Poor’s rates Apex as AAA (the highest possible rating)
- Moody’s rating is Aaa (the highest possible rating)
These ratings allow the town to borrow money at the most favorable interest rates.