County commissioners approve budget, continue land discussions

The Moore County Board of Commissioners passed the 2022-2023 budget with the proposed amendments on Thursday.


The budget set Sandhills Community College expenses at approximately $5.15 million.

Commissioner Nick Picerno replied in an email to Sandhills Sentinel that the Moore County School’s operating costs increased $800,000 over the proposed budget. This resulted in a total of $34,500,000, with another $800,000 for capital. The total for Moore County Schools is $35,300,000.

Picerno said the tax rate was cut from .51 cents to 48.5 cents.

“The article 46 sales tax money was in a reserve account and I felt strongly that this money should be used to pay for the recently built schools,” Picerno said.

Salaries receive a 5% cost-of-living increase.

The board passed the annual salary plan for 2022-2023 within social services and health. The Office of State Human Resources Salary Report Form will be submitted to the state.

Chair Frank Quis said the county was in good shape due to good budgeting and sales and property tax increases with new visitors, but that they cannot count on a healthy economy going forward. Fund balances are strong, but inflation is higher than it has been in 40 years.

Quis said they will use a pay-as-you-go strategy for schools to reduce borrowing costs.

During a continued and ongoing quasi-judicial hearing, a plat of land proposed for development was evaluated.

Tri-South Builders, Inc requested approval for a subdivision with 53 lots on 73.77 acres on Union Church Road in Carthage, which was owned by James and Carolyn Ring, and is now owned by their heirs, Dennis Ring and John Ring.

A presentation and discussion on the proposed property development map revealed unnatural wetland boundaries with 30-foot downward slopes on the existing maps, indicating the wetland delineation of wetlands maps were not accurate.

The presented map for the proposed subdivision was made with an online geographic information system (GIS) data map, which has an accuracy disclaimer, not a surveyed map from a team on foot. The discussion on this aspect covered how a GIS map is not as accurate. Read why here. 

The original deed was described as archaic, with a marker being a large gum tree. The example of the original deed’s inaccuracy was shown by its statement of being on one property line at 897 feet. But the bearing distances measured since the original do not add up to 897 feet.

Also, the names of the current property owners were not on the map, and did not have signatures, and the map did not include a legend.

Dr. Gregory, a North Carolina State forest, soil, and wetland maps expert, said the wetlands could not be filled in and houses placed.

Prior, Gregory evaluated the property on foot and during the hearing said there were year-round flowing streams.

The process to delineate wetlands requires a professional consultant and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) map. A surveyor maps the property (on foot) and then the USACE representative verifies the wetland map.

Gregory said an accurate wetlands map would change the development plans because lots and roads cannot be placed on wetlands without proper approval from the USACE.

Gregory said there was concern about stormwater running from the lots to ditches along roads and flooding roads and into the wetlands.

Commissioner Jim Daeke asked where the water runoff would flow and affect the development and adjoining properties.

Gregory said the problem was that the county’s Uniform Development Code did not have an ordinance protecting trees, and the trees would all be cut down.

Gregory’s answer was struck down, citing it as irrelevant. Daeke’s question was restructured, and Gregory answered again. This time, he said the typical development cleared the land of all trees; the land is highly compacted, and the change in soils because of the site’s topography, the likelihood of a lot of polluted water will be carried into the streams.

Gregory’s second answer was struck down.

Quis asked what the total amount of impervious surface would be created by the development.

The attorney for the proposed development said the known impervious area is listed on the map, and it was the roads. But the total amount will not be known until after construction is complete, and it will include driveways and rooftops.

During a discussion on traffic concerns, especially Fayetteville commutes, on Union Church Road, Gregory said the analysis was low because of the growth rate, according to the approximate 2,100 homes approved since 2016 to now in Vass and Carthage were not considered for the traffic study.

In the subdivision plans, no lot will have a direct road to Union Church Road.

Private septic tanks and Moore County water are the planned utilities.

The subdivision plans hold 38.19 acres as contiguous open space under a homeowner’s association.

The property is surrounded by undeveloped land and single-family homes.

The quasi-judicial hearing will be continued July 18 at 4 p.m.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].

File photo.

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