After six months of discussion, debate and public comment, the Robbins Board of Commissioners Thursday passed a budget that satisfied no one but was deemed in the best interest of the town.
The new budget increases the town’s property tax to 75 cents per hundred dollars of property value. According to Robbins Town Manager David Lambert, the average property owner’s tax bill should increase by $80 per year.
“It’s a budget no one in this room wants to pass,” Lambert said. “But what this budget does is take into account where we are and what we need.”
During a public comment period at the Town Council meeting, a resident stated, “We understand why the increase is necessary, but we want assurances that when the current crisis is resolved, the tax hike will be rolled back.”
Addressing this concern, the Robbins Town Attorney stated that the current board cannot mandate budget policies for a future board.
Mayor Lonnie English added, “The remedy is at the ballot box if a future board does not act in the public’s best interest.”
“Robbins has been in a hole for six years resulting in a cycle of deferring maintenance and repairs, eliminating programs and positions, and with the damages caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, which caused millions of dollars worth of damage to the town’s infrastructure, Robbins is in dire straits,” said Lambert.
“Additionally, Robbins has cut property taxes three of the last four years. This budget is a correction and will secure residents’ property value,” Lambert told the board.
The vote to adopt the budget was tied at 2-2 with Mayor English casting the deciding vote. When queried about whether or not the town had a master plan, Lambert stated “Yes we do. and it is available on the town’s website.”
Before the budget discussion at the meeting, Robbins Police Chief Robert Tew announced his resignation to accept a new position with a different law enforcement agency. He has served with Robbin’s Police force since 2004, being elevated to chief in 2016.
Feature photo courtesy of Town of Robbins.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at [email protected] or (910) 639-9303.