CARTHAGE — The Moore County Board of Commissioners gave final approval to its 2023-24 budget in a special session on Thursday, June 22, at the commissioners’ meeting room inside the historic courthouse in Carthage.
One of the top priorities of the board’s budget proposal was adjusting the county’s property tax rate. The period revaluation, which was due for Moore County this upcoming year, reassesses all property tax assessments to their current market valuation.
Moore County Commissioners stated their goal this year was to make the property tax rate revenue neutral, according to County Manager Wayne Vest.
“First and foremost, we have a revaluation year. At the outset earlier in the year, when the notices of value went out, there was some degree of panic because we had significant increases across the county and property values,” said Vest at the meeting. “The property values are one component of the tax rate and property values. We knew what was coming as far as the value increases.”
Vest continued, saying this budget accomplishes that goal and maintains the same revenue overall between the general fund, emergency management fund and fire district fund.
The final comprehensive budget spends around $213 million. The budget is also revenue neutral from the previous year. The FY 2023 tax rates were $0.6300 cents. The new FY 2024 budget is $0.4550, just under the revenue neutral rate of $0.4673.
“We’re almost a penny and a quarter under revenue neutral,” Vest added.
County employees will see two cost of living adjustments (COLA) in the budget: 3% effective on July 1, 2023, and a second on Jan. 13, 2024. The budget also allows for 33 new full-time employees and one part-time employee throughout the county administration, bringing the total number to 767 employees, the highest in county history. Many of the new positions are for public safety: 10 sheriff’s deputies, one detective sergeant and two detention officers. The budget also calls for hiring two public safety telecommunicators and additional property management staff.
Moore County Schools is funded at just under $52 million, including expenses, capital outlays, digital learning, debt service school nurse and Sandhills Center allocations. Sandhills Community College will receive $7.9 million from the county in FY 2024.
A budget document posted by the county also says that property and sales taxes is expected to comprise nearly 74% of General Fund revenues.
Following the vote, Board Chairman Nick Picerno said in a statement, “Today we passed by a unanimous vote of 4-0 to approve the budget for Moore County. You will see this reflected in your property tax bill that should mail sometime next month and should be lower than last unless you had an extremely higher property valuation (over 31%). The really big effect will be on your automobile where the new lower rate of 45.5 cents vs. 63 cents last year will be very noticeable.”