The Metro Moore County Budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year has jumped its second hurdle.
In front of a crowd of 50-plus Moore County residents, the Metro Moore County Council voted 10-5 to pass the budget — which includes a $.10 property tax increase to help offset a deficit within the Moore County School system. On its second reading, the budget passed by the same 10-5 margin as it did on it first reading last month.
Upon passing the second time, the council has set a special call meeting for 6 p.m. on June 27th for the third reading of the budget. If it passes next Thursday, it will become official and the matter will be closed.
Prior to Tuesday’s council meeting there was a 45-minute open discussion concerning the county’s budget, with much of the discussion focused on the school budget itself.
Director of Schools Chad Moorehead fielded the majority of the questions. He said if the school did not get the $.20 tax increase it requested, cutbacks would have to be made.
“We will have to take raises out and we will have to take the (full-time School Resource Officer) out for LES,” said Moorehead, who added that the raises were in line with the rest of the county’s non-teaching personnel. “We’re (also) looking at not filling a (vacant) position at LES … we’re not trying to put anybody out of work.”
Budget Committee Chairman Tommy Brown said some monies had been trimmed from each of the seven funds that the county property tax provides for.
“We cut some out of everybody’s budget,” said Brown. “Most of the other department’s balance out. The (school) is dealing with millions of dollars, rather than thousands.
“They are gonna be getting almost $1 million more than the state requires us to match. You hate to penalize those people who have been working hard and balanced their budget … not that the school system hasn’t been (working hard).
Despite the question-and-answer session — which remained civil throughout — it did little to sway the votes on the Metro council.
Councilmen Jason Weddington (3rd-Dist.), Coleman March (1st-Dist.), Parks Norman (1st-Dist.), Oscar McGee (4th-Dist.), Gordon Millsaps (3rd-Dist.), Greg Thompson (2nd-Dist.), Marty Copeland (3rd-Dist.), Korby Holcomb (1st-Dist.), R.D. McKenzie (5th-Dist.) and Penny Smith (2nd-Dist.) voted in favor of the budget as proposed.
That includes a property tax increase of $.10 (per $100 of taxable property based on the most recent appraisal).
Those voting against it were Brown (5th-Dist.), Linda Wolaver (4th-Dist.), Glenn Searcy (2nd-Dist.), Wayne Brandon (5th-Dist.) and David Boyce (4th-Dist.).
If the budget survives next Thursday’s final test, the property tax increase would bring the overall rate in Moore County to $2.43, up from $2.33 last year — per $100 of taxable property.
Still Moorehead says that will not cover the school budget deficit. On Tuesday, the director called a special meeting for the Moore County Board of Education to discuss 2012-13 Budget Amendments, the 2013-14 Budget and surplus property. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, June 24 in the basement of the County Building.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, MCN Editor