County Delays Vote on Budget, Tax Hike
Moore County's tax rate hike pain may be eased after all.
County Manager Cary McSwain recommended a 3.2-cent increase, rather than 3.9 cents, to the Moore County Board of Commissioners at a Monday night meeting.
No action was taken on his recommendation, nor did the commissioners approve the 2008-2009 budget as expected. Instead, they went along with Chairman Colin McKenzie, who asked the board to table the $80.5 million budget until the June 16 meeting to give the new Government Efficiency Committee an opportunity to examine the document in more detail.
In a brief Tuesday morning telephone interview, McKenzie said he was pleased that McSwain has found places to reduce budget items to cut the tax hike. He said the board did not ask McSwain to find the cuts, that this was an initiative of his own making.
"I think it's fine," McKenzie said. "Any way you can make it less painful, I'm in favor of it."
Not all of McSwain's cuts are in the general fund tax rate. His recommendation reduces the Advanced Life Support (ambulance/paramedic service) tax rate by half a cent from the present 3 cents to 2.5 cents.
If his recommendation is approved, the general tax levy increase would be cut by 0.2 cents, from an increase of 3.9 cents to 3.7 cents.
That would cut the total tax rate from 51.4 cents to 50.7 cents on the $100 property evaluation. That total includes the tax levy of 48.2 cents plus the 2.5 cents for ALS. The tax rates for the current year are 44.5 cents plus 3 cents for ALS.
The 3.9-cent hike was recommended when McSwain presented the proposed budget for 2008-2009 at the May 19 meeting.
An increase had been expected because the first bonds from the $69.5 million education bond package are being issued in the new budget year, which begins July 1.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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