Robbins Town Council held an emergency meeting Thursday, in front of a gathering of concerned citizens, to discuss the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
In a reversal of Tuesday’s decision to adopt a budget with a tax rate lower than recommended by town management, the council voted to propose an increase for the local property tax rate to .75 cents.
This will enable Robbins to fill a vacant police officer position, ensuring 24-hour police coverage, as well as addressing other long-neglected needs. As Robbins Town Manager David Lambert stated, “The budget solves some problems but not all.”
After the vote, which required Mayor English to break a 2-2 deadlock, and to the dismay of the gathered crowd, the meeting was adjourned.
According to North Carolina statue, an emergency called meeting cannot deviate from the published agenda. However, the crowd was told that a public hearing will be held June 13, before a final vote is held concerning the budget.
Following the official adjournment of the meeting, Lambert and other town officials stayed and had an extensive, unofficial dialogue with the citizenry concerning both the budget and the future of Robbins.
In a memo to the town commissioners presenting the budget, Lambert stated that the town “cannot afford to make substantial cuts to our budget and maintain the value of service to our citizens, meet any future emergency needs and address critical infrastructure and capital needs.” Calling the budget vote historical for Robbins, he added that “this is the life and death of a town.”
Lambert had also tended his resignation as town manager follow Tuesday’s meeting. When asked, he reiterated his passion and love of Robbins but added that he believed it was time.
There will be a public hearing to discuss the budget on June 13.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at [email protected] or (910) 639-9303.