County Approves Budget
The Moore County Board of Commissioners has approved the budget for fiscal year 2012-2013.
In a 4-1 vote during the board's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, the board approved a budget totaling $129,103,143 that maintains the current property tax rate at 46.5 cents per $100 property valuation. The General Fund is at $84,940,083, a decrease of 4.16 percent from the 2011-2012 General Fund.
Commissioner Tim Lea opposed the motion to pass the budget, saying he was not satisfied with several items related to employee benefits.
"I thought the cuts were too severe in the area of health care deductibles," he said, "which affects not only the county employee but his or her family as well. Second, this budget has set aside $597,022 in longevity pay for employees. I don't support longevity pay, but I am in favor of performance pay for a job well done."
County Manager Cary McSwain thanked members of the Moore County School Board as they left the room after the budget was passed.
"Thank you for your responsible request," he said. The school board requested, and received, $25.5 million in local funding.
The budget funds several new positions, including four detention officers and seven paramedics.
In other action, the board approved the release of closed session minutes in connection with the alleged sale of county land to the Bojangles' corporation, which would be located near a veterans' memorial in Carthage. Lea accused the board of discussing the sale of county land in closed session in violation of the Open Meetings Law. A board can hold a closed session to discuss buying land, but state law does not provide for such a meeting to talk about selling surplus property.
Commissioners' Chairman Larry Caddell made the motion to release the minutes from three meetings in which the discussions allegedly took place. Lea asked to amend the motion to include voice recordings and additional documentation related to the subject, but the amended motion died for lack of a second. The original motion then passed unanimously.
(See story about meeting minutes here.)
More than 25 military veterans attended the meeting, from which 10 addressed the board on the issue of locating a Bojangles adjacent to the war memorial. One of them was Charles Spelman of Seven Lakes.
"Certain individuals feel that a monetary gain means more than the lives that we lost and the memorial that has been built in their honor. I don't want to hear ... May I take your order? ... as I pay respect to those who made the supreme sacrifice."
Caddell said he could empathize with the veterans' experience.
"I left home on a cold December day in 1969 and returned on a cold December day in 1971," he said. "I couldn't wear my uniform at home at Christmas. I just want to make that known.
"I have great respect for the military."
The board meets again on June 19.
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