County manager presents $216.6M budget to commissioners

A vocal crowd was present to discuss a proposed “pro-life resolution” before the Moore County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. 

A motion by Commissioner Nick Picerno to pass the resolution was tabled.

Commissioner Catherine Graham pointed out it is legal for a board to pass a nonbinding resolution on matters of opinion, and considering three current board members are not running for reelection and will not be on the board when state legislators addresses abortions next year, she motioned the resolution to be removed from the agenda. The vote passed 4-1, with Picerno opposed.

The resolution by Picerno would have stipulated Moore County believes life begins at conception.

Several speakers asked why the county was dealing with such a controversial issue in lieu of addressing the more pressing issues facing the county.

In comments at the end of the meeting, Picerno wanted to clarify his resolution for pro-life was in response to constituents’ comments.

He called it a “gut wrenching decision because I want the county to be inclusive. If we could work together, we could maybe come up with some common-sense laws that work for everyone. Sometimes we get so bitter because of the rhetoric,” said Picerno.

Graham added “it is my opinion all the commissioners are pro-life, maybe with some exception, but we all followed our conscience.”

There was a slight majority of speakers at the meeting opposing the proposed “pro-life resolution.” Several speakers suggested a countywide referendum should vote on the measure.

Supporters of the measure included staff and several classes from Calvary Christian School. Pastor Charles Garrison accused the commissioners of “taking the path of a politician instead of statesman and stateswoman so desperately needed in this time. You violated your oath to the Constitution of the United States.”

The North Carolina Legislative has postponed action on abortion until January. Currently, North Carolina allows abortions for up to 20 weeks. After 20 weeks, an abortion is permitted only in issues where the mother’s life is threatened.

Chairman Frank Quis closed the meeting by saying, “It is important for a unified Moore County. It is important that we listen to our neighbors and work for a unified Moore County.

In other meeting matters, the county will finish evaluating all properties in January 2023. Moore County follows a four year schedule, with the last reevaluation in 2019. There are over 73,000 parcels in Moore County, with 38,000 residential units. As Moore County determines, the valuation will set property values at total market value.

There is a 300-page guideline to the data used to determine the new guidelines for the revaluation available at the Moore County Tax Office for public inspection. There will then be a public hearing scheduled for September 20, followed by a 30-day period during which residents can appeal parts of the published values.

The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the guidelines in early October. Moore County taxpayers will receive a new assessment notice in March of 2023.

According to Gary Briggs, Moore County tax administrator, a recent survey of residential values sells at roughly 40% over the tax value. That is a countywide estimate and could change by the end of the year.

The board also approved $214,000 contract for adaptive playground equipment for the Moore County Sports Complex. Adaptive playground equipment meets ADA (Americans with Disability Act) regulations and ensures kids with disabilities have access to and can use playground equipment.

A study was order by the commissioners to evaluate the pay of Moore County employees. The completed study revealed instances where the pay scale needed to be improved.

The commissioners adopted the revised pay scales effective October 8. Existing funds will pay the increase for the fiscal year 2023.

The next Moore County Commissioners meeting is scheduled for September 20.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice. Contact him at [email protected].

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