Aberdeen approves budget, talks school traffic

Aberdeen approved the $20,379,519 budget for 2024-2025 at its special called May 28 meeting.

Town Manager Paul Sabiston said Aberdeen’s total property valuation for the upcoming year shows a 4% increase.The demand for building materials forces higher prices, so new and existing home prices continue to rise. Realtor.com lists Aberdeen’s May 2024 housing costs at an average of $439,000.

Overall, rising fuel prices, health, property, and liability insurance rates, capital improvements, primarily in the water and sewer departments, and cost-of-living-adjustments increased the budget.

The balanced budget maintains the same $.42 cents tax rate as the last fiscal year. It meets debt contracts, including the new fire truck and the police facility, and carries the capital expenditures. The budget allows a 5% cost-of-living increase for all employees.

Read budget details here.

During the May 28 agenda meeting, Aberdeen board members heard public comments on Aberdeen Elementary School traffic.

While Mayor Robbie Farrell shared the community’s safety concerns, he directed citizens to the Department of Transportation (DOT) because only they could change the speed limit.

“To say there are a lot of accidents on Highway 5 is simply not true,” Aberdeen Police Chief Brian Chavis said about the fact that in 2020 there were no wrecks, only two wrecks in 2021, no wrecks in 2022, three wrecks in 2023, with one of those from a bus driver at fault. For 2024, through May 28, there has been one wreck.

Chavis said the majority of accidents and near accidents are from parents leaving the school, making a left out of Farrell Parkway.

CEO of Concerned Citizens Isaac Jenkins said if the speed limit was reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph, it could help prevent a fatality near the school.

“One fatality is too many,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins added that he contacted the DOT and, when he receives the results about the request for signage, would report them to the town board.

Mary Henkel said there were many accidents on Farrel Parkway and N.C. 5.

“The principal was almost T-boned last week,” Henkel said about the need for signage and reduced speed limits.

“This is horrible,” Henkel said about the DOT’s responsibility to reduce the speed limit when there are trucks hauling 35 tons and cannot stop quickly.

Click here to hear all the topics discussed at the meeting.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Stephanie is also an English instructor at Central Carolina Community College. She is the author of young adult fiction, including When the Yellow Slugs Sing and Sky’s River Stone, and a suspense, GUTTERSNIPE: Shakespearean English Stage Play with Translation.

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