County Board Approves Budget
The Moore County Board of Commissioners approval of its 2010-11 budget wasn’t without controversy.
Monday, Commissioners approved an $84.9 million budget, but disagreed how proposed changes should be made and voted on.
The vote was 3-2, with Commissioners Nick Picerno, Larry Caddell and Jimmy Melton voting for and Chairman Tim Lea and commissioner Cindy Morgan voting against.
County Manager Cary McSwain tried to present the board with five possible changes to the budget with commissioners voting on each change separately. After each was handled, a budget ammendment would be voted on, and if the budget was not completely balanced, it would be left to McSwain to balance it.
During McSwain’s presentation, Commissioner Picerno interjected, requesting that, in the interest of time, the changes be made in one motion.
“There is no hidden agenda,” Picerno said. “It’s just something that will simplify the process and makes more sense to me.”
Chairman Lea said Picerno’s way lacked transparency.
“The intent was to go through this so everybody would be able to see the changes that are made,” he said.
After some discussion, Picerno presented the budget changes in one motion.
The changes included revenue gains of $487,000 for a fund balance transfer of the landfill as passed in the 2010 budget that offset lower revenue projections for the motor vehicle tax revenue ($106,000), leaf/limb removal ($7,431) and the reinstatement of the 2 percent discount for early taxpayers ($285,740).
On the expense side, recommendations included the inclusion of several positions and funds for the Sheriff’s department cut in the original budget. Those additions totaled more than $300,000.
To balance those expense additions, the recommendation eliminated the budget department ($93,348), fixed a math error by the county in the Moore County Schools budget ($20,714) and cut unallocated expenses ($287,000). The changes increased expenses by $28,263.
The changes added $59,566 to the fund balance.
The new budget is nearly $4.5 million or 5 percent less than the current budget. It retains the current 46.5-cent tax rate per $100 of property valuation and doesn’t dip into the fund balance.
The Moore County Schools will receive $25.5 million, a 3 percent decrease from its original request, and $711,932 for capital outlay.
Sandhills Community College’s budget was also cut by 3 percent, leaving $4 million.
County employees will receive no wage increases for the second consecutive year.
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