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Budget Fails Second Reading

Posted on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 10:29 am

by Sarah Raymond

Three council members were absent from Monday’s meeting that determined whether the amended budget for the 2021-2022 financial year would pass its second reading. At the previous meeting, the council had decided to drop the tax rate to 2.40 instead of 2.43. In addition to the changes that were made to meet the needs of the county, there are also expenses on the budget that have been mandated by the state. Because of this, there are some departments that absolutely must have additional funds in order to abide by the laws of the state.

A gentleman received permission to address the council due to the fact that he was unable to attend the public hearing prior to the official meeting. He stated that due to his multiple severe illnesses and medical needs, the council’s decision could be crippling to his finances. He urged them to consider the elderly in his position who must also live on a fixed income. Another
gentleman joined him by stating that the committee’s budget had some good ideas but that they needed to be delayed until the following year’s budget because many people were still trying to re-cooperate from the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also stated that he has talked to many people in the community and that none of them were entirely in favor of the
proposed budget either. Mayor Bonnie Lewis dispersed papers that held information from the Assessor’s office with numbers for the past four years. These numbers stated the property value of all the homes in Moore County. She stated that these property values are what determine the value of the penny for the budget and that the tax rate has fluctuated over the years. At one point, the tax rate was over 20 cents higher than the 2.43 tax rate that was originally proposed, and it has dropped significantly since then. She added that every member on the budget committee is exceptionally qualified to be in that position and has spent many hours poring over the numbers in order to provide the best budget possible. She informed the citizens present that her door would always be open to them if they had any questions about the numbers in the budget and that she would be willing to help them with any questions.

The vote was a close one, but ultimately, it fell just shy of the necessary two-thirds majority due to its receiving only seven votes out of twelve in agreement. The council had decided to cancel the June 28 meeting, but later, this decision had to be reversed. According to the mayor, “Even though the budget did not pass and the council decided to cancel the meeting on June 28, the department heads need final budget amendments passed to close out the fiscal year for 2021.”

Another meeting will be held at a future date after changes have been made and the committee proposes a new budget. Because a new budget will not be finished before June 30, the current tax levy will continue to be used. If the council is not able to agree upon a budget before September 1, the state will intervene and take control of the decision, although the mayor stated that the council has never needed that much extra time in the past. In addition to the budget matters, the council also approved the second reading of the occupancy of travel trailers and RVs proposal. The nominations for Leah Dickert as Notary Bond, Trevor Cooley as Notary bond, and Brooke Fanning as Notary Public were all approved as well. A copy of the proposed budget can be found on our website at the link below, courtesy of the mayor’s office.

3-MC 2021-22 Budget REV-2.40 for 6.21.21 after 6.14.21 meeting-less 3 cents