The first reading of the 2013-14 Metropolitan Lynchburg/Moore County budget passed last month by a 10-5 tally without so much as a hiccup. During that meeting, the Metro Council voted to accept the budget as is. That includes a property tax increase of $.10 (per $100 of taxable property based on the most recent appraisal).
The second reading is scheduled for Monday, June 17. If it passes, the commission will meet in a special session to approve the budget.
On May 20, Penny Smith made a motion to approve the budget and Greg Thompson seconded the motion. Those voting against it were Tommy Brown (5th-Dist.), Linda Wolaver (4th-Dist.), Glenn Searcy (2nd-Dist.), Wayne Brandon (5th-Dist.) and David Boyce (4th-Dist.).
If passed, 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. The rate increase is being pushed in an effort to offset a hefty deficit within the Moore County Board of Education’s proposed budget.
During Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Chad Moorehead, the Director of Schools, gave some insight into the school system’s current budget status.
“We spent more than we estimated we’d spend in this (2012-13) budget due to a couple of factors, but revenue also came in higher than we expected, so we have a little money to roll over,” Moorehead said. “We’re (approximately) $170,000 to the good … but I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up, because I had anticipated that when I did the (2013-14) budgeting process. We’re still not in the clear.”
And though he commended the Metro Council for approving the $.10 tax increase, Moorehead still doesn’t think it will be enough to cover what is expected to be a $300,000-plus shortage. He said that he believed a $.20 property tax increase would, however, make up the difference.
Though there was a crowd of about 30 residents at the May meeting, there was no public input. Prior to the first vote, Chairman Coleman March said, “Should this pass, the next time we will open the floor to the public.”
That open discussion is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday at the American Legion Building, when the Metropolitan Lynchburg/Moore County Council will hold a public hearing.
At this week’s school board meeting, Moorehead said he expected a good turnout of those opposed to the increase and urged educators — and anyone else in favor of the increase — to do the same.
In May, councilmen Jason Weddington (3rd-Dist.), March (1st-Dist.), Parks Norman (1st-Dist.), Oscar McGee (4th-Dist.), Gordon Millsaps (3rd-Dist.), Thompson (2nd-Dist.), Marty Copeland (3rd-Dist.), Korby Holcomb (1st-Dist.), R.D. McKenzie (5th-Dist.) and Smith (2nd-Dist.) voted in favor of the budget as proposed.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, MCN Editor (Robert Holman is the editor of the Moore County News. He may be reached at email@example.com)