Pilot Light: Tax Hike Question on Commissioners' Agenda
Six public hearings will share the agenda with the 2008-2009 budget presentation at the Monday meeting of the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
The board will convene at 6 p.m. in the historic courthouse in Carthage.
Interest will focus on the budget prepared by County Manager Cary McSwain, and the big question in everyone's mind will be the size of an expected increase in the property tax rate. This year's tax rate is 44.5 cents, plus three cents for the Advanced Life Support program (paramedic/ambulance service), on the $100 property evaluation.
The rate is expected to increase because the county is issuing the first bonds from the $69.5 million bond package for the schools and college approved at the polls in November.
In November, voters turned down a land transfer tax as an alternative source of revenue for the bonds. On May 6, they likewise said no to an increase in the local sales tax.
HEARINGS -- Five of the hearings involve planning and zoning issues, and of the five, four will be quasi-judicial in nature, requiring oath-taking by all speakers. The sixth hearing pertains to an amendment to the Community Development Block Grant concentrated needs program and was requested by the Department of Public Works.
Also on the agenda Monday are the quarterly fiscal report for Sandhills Mental Health Center and action on an annual agreement on Workers' Compensation and other insurance needs.
Prior to the regular meeting, the commissioners will host a reception for graduates of Government 101, a free educational program introducing residents to the workings of county government.
COMMENDED -- Emergency management staff and firefighters and rescue workers throughout the county were commended Thursday night for their response to a fierce blaze at an Aberdeen business Wednesday.
County Manager Cary McSwain named the departments that responded to the fire and commended them for outstanding and courageous work. He was speaking at the end of a work session with the county commissioners.
COBLE -- Congressman Howard Coble was among 21 Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives who recently urged Senate Democrats to schedule hearings for Fourth Circuit judicial nominees.
In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, the House members urged Senate Democrats to give the nominees an up or down vote. The letter said, in part, that their constituents are paying the price for judicial vacancies "as they see their cases delayed because there are not enough judges to handle the caseload on the Fourth Circuit."
"Chief Judge Robert Conrad, who was nominated to fill the vacancy in North Carolina, is a longtime friend of mine and extremely qualified to fill this position," Coble said. "To leave a seat vacant for more than 5,000 days is a travesty. The people of North Carolina and the Fourth Circuit deserve better. I urge the Senate to move on this and other vacancies expeditiously."
Coble represents the 6th District, which includes Moore County.
LIBERTARIANS -- The North Carolina Libertarian Party reported this past week that it has collected enough signatures to earn a place on the November ballot.
Party officials, with Mike Munger in the lead, delivered petitions to the State Board of Elections Thursday and said the petitions carry the signatures of 73,000 individuals who want the party to be recognized. If the party is recognized, then Munger hopes to become the Libertarian candidate for governor.
The Libertarian Party at one time was recognized as a political party in North Carolina, but the party was removed a few years ago when the number of registrants dropped below the statutory requirement.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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