Newton's proposed electric rate hike reduced

Tweaks to Newton's proposed $38 million budget trimmed an electric rate hike slightly, reduced a pay raise for city workers and modified those workers' health insurance benefits.

All total, elected officials' changes to Newton City Manager Todd Clark's proposed budget cut the Fiscal Year 2012-13 spending plan by $306,400 to about $38.5 million.

Newton City Council will hold a public hearing on the budget during its Tuesday meeting that begins at 7 p.m. Elected officials are expected to vote on the spending plan following the public comment period.

Newton's budget proposal still includes a garbage rate increase of $3 per month, raising the cost for residential garbage customers to $10 monthly.

The budget also includes an electric rate hike, but that increase is lowered from the original 6.4 percent proposal to 6.2 percent. The reduction for residential, commercial and industrial customers decreased projected revenue in the city's electric department by $26,650.

To read more of this story, pick up the weekend print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.