Moore County Manager Wayne Vest presented to the board of commissioners Tuesday what he described as a “bold budget, making a bold move in both revenue and taxation.” He continued, “There will be those who feel it is not bold enough and others who will say it is too bold, but I feel we hit the right spot.”
The budget calls for total expenditures of $162 million. Educational expenses make up the vast majority of that amount, accounting for just under 50% of the total.
This amounts to an increase of $1.5 million over the current year’s allocation. This is far short of the $4.1 million the school board has requested for one-time funding for capital and supplemental expenses.
It also omits the request for $1.2 million the school board had requested to assist with the funding of charter schools.
After several years of steady property tax rates, 2020 could be the first increase in property tax rates in 10 years.
Under the proposed budget presented to the county commissioners by Vest, tax rates would increase to 51 cents per $100. However, in light of the recent reevaluation of property values, many residents could see a significantly higher increase.
Education and long-delayed capital needs make up a significant portion of the budget with the addition of three new elementary schools currently under construction, expansion at Sandhills Community College and a court-mandated new courthouse along with escalating operational costs make the increase a necessity.
The budget makes human services, education, and public safety a priority with these areas accounting for approximately 70% of the total budget.
Comparing the budget dollars to a seedling, Vest concluded his presentation by stating “The $162 million (total fiscal 2020 budget), if handled appropriately, will result in needed services being provided in an efficient and effective manner for the citizens of Moore County.”
The commissioners called for a public hearing on June 18 at 5:30 p.m. to allow the public input into the budget. Currently, the board is planning to take final action on the budget at its regularly scheduled meeting also on June 18.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
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