The Robbins Town Board of Commissioners has ambitious plans for this coming year, but it intends to do it all with less money.

The board has approved a new budget for the coming year that drops Moore County’s highest property tax rate by two cents.

The rate, set for 62 cents for every $100 of property valuation, goes into effect July 1. A property owner in Robbins with a house valued at $100,000 will pay $620 in property taxes, or $20 less than last year.

“Robbins has the highest tax rate in Moore County so this was a big step,” said Town Commissioner David Lambert. “It ultimately came down to setting our priorities and negotiating funds.”

In 2012, the tax rate was reduced from 66 cents per $100 valuation to 64 cents. The tax rate is now 62 cents.

“This reduction shows that the board is working together to do things that will affect the community in a positive way,” said Robbins Mayor Lonnie English.

The budget was passed unanimously by all five commissioners during a special meeting last week.

“It took well over 20 hours for the commissioners to come up with the final budget. The board advocated for what they believed in and there was an eagerness of the entire board to find a solution that made everyone happy,” Lambert said.

Town Commissioner Terri Holt was responsible for encouraging the board to lower the tax rate.

“I kept bringing it up in every meeting because when people ask ‘what does Robbins have to offer?’ we don’t want that answer to be ‘a high tax rate’,” she said.

Robbins, located in northern Moore County, has about 1,100 residents and is not blessed with a strong tax base or much industry like its sister municipalities in the southern end of the county. For instance, Southern Pines this coming year will have a 38-cent tax rate, and Pinehurst is even lower with a 29.5-cent rate for every $100. Aberdeen’s new budget, which will reflect a four-cent hike in the tax rate, will be 47 cents.

Holt said although the two-cent reduction isn’t significant, it could increase industry within the town.

“The reduction won’t mean much to the residents because it’s not decreasing by large dollar values but it makes our tax rate more inviting for businesses to open up here,” she said. “People say we have such a high tax rate because their isn’t much industry, but the truth is the tax rate was high even when industry was here.”

Robbins has plans to continue reducing its tax rate. Holt said the board hopes to reduce the tax rate by five cents next year.

“We’re heading in the right direction. We want to make it where we can be competitive with everyone else in the county,” she said.

The board faced a few obstacles when planning the town budget, including reduced property evaluations and the need for extra money to fund a new town manager. Jeff Sheffield, who currently serves as town manager and police chief, is retiring in September.

Lambert said the finalized budget would not be possible without the help from Sheffield and town Finance Officer Matthew Shuster.

“They drew up seven or eight different budgets. It was a team effort,” he said.

Robbins 2016-2017 town budget will allow the town to invest more in the water and wastewater system, which will improve quality and help maintain compliance with state standards. Other expenses in the budget include the purchase of a new police vehicle and fire truck.

English said he is proud of the board's hard work and believes the changes to the budget would not be possible without the board’s teamwork.

“If you can’t work together, then nothing will get done. You can put that in fancy terms but that’s the bottom line,” he said.

 

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(1) comment

Tracy Carter

Good job Mr. English, now you can pay your workers less, such as Police and then employee so the people can see a tax break that they will never notice. This is a great way to get and keep quality people. Too bad you don't rely on your pay to feed your family.

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