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2014-15 budget on fast track to approval; Third reading set for June 30

Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm

The public hearing for the 2014-15 Metro Moore County budget took all of 2 minutes Monday night. Nine people were in the audience as the Metro Council opened the floor for discussion.

It was far from the standing-room only scene from last year’s public hearing. That budget — for the current fiscal year — included a $.10 tax increase to assist in the deficient school system budget.

There is no tax increase on the table this year, however, so there was little hubbub at this year’s public hearing. And after 2 minutes of silence Monday night — there was hardly a peep when Chairman Coleman March asked for public input — the budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year appears ready for swift approval by the council.

During the Metropolitan Lynchburg/Moore County Council’s regular June meeting Monday night, the Council voted unanimously via a roll call vote to approve the budget. It was the second reading.

Three Council members — David Boyce, Jason Weddington and Penny Smith — were absent.

The budget is now scheduled for its third and final reading. The Council approved a motion for a Special Call meeting on June 30 at 6:30 p.m. to hold the mandatory third reading.

During Monday’s meeting Budget Committee Chairman Tommy Brown reiterated what he reported in May. The budget for the new fiscal year will almost mirror last year’s budget. The only difference is the amount of money allotted for Debt Service and Capital Projects.

Debt Services has been dropped from $.16 to $.26, while Capital Projects will be raised from $.015 to $.115. According to Brown, the budget committee decided to make this change so the ambulance and patrol car to be purchased next year could be paid for from the Capital Projects fund, thus eliminating the need for a loan and any interest that would go along with it.

The county’s total tax rate will remain at $2.43 ($2.47 in urban services areas) per $100 of taxable property based on the most recent appraisal.

The budget committee has recommended a 3 percent raise for all county employees, as well as an increase in pay from $20 per month to $50 per month for each county commissioner. County employees were given a 3 percent raise last year also.

Also in this year’s proposed budget is an increase in fire hydrant installation by $10,000, along with the purchase of the new ambulance and one patrol car for the sheriff’s department.

Brown also reported that the loan the County had taken out to pay for refurbishing the gymnasium wall at Lynchburg Elementary School has been paid off. Mayor Sloan Stewart said the payoff amount for the loan was $189,000 and that the County was expected to save interest money by paying the note off well ahead of schedule.

—By ROBERT HOLMAN, Editor & Publisher