New sales tax projections could mean lower property taxes

New walkways to be constructed along two residential streets

PINEHURST — The Village of Pinehurst Council met on Tuesday, April 26 where they provided updates on recent hires, property tax projections and new construction.

The Village announced that they had recently made two additional hires for their planning department.

“For a very long time, we’ve been kind of shorthanded in our planning department and we’re very happy to announce that over the last two weeks, we’ve hired two new planners,” said Village Manager, Jeff Sanborn. “So we’ll be at full strength starting about the middle of May.”

Sanborn also clarified that now that the Village has received and analyzed the sales tax projections from the State of North Carolina, there should be an update to the projected tax rates that were proposed at the last meeting.

“At that time, we recommended to the council, that when they do eventually adopt a budget, to stay in line with the property tax structure that was approved in last year’s five-year plan. At the same time I announced we had gotten some updated sales tax projections from the state that might impact that. We’ve analyzed it now and what we will be recommending to the council moving forward is a reduction of one penny in property tax for each of those five years. So for FY23, the impact would be that rather than a sales tax increase of half a cent, it will be a decrease of half a cent.”

Mayor John Strickland also made note that the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives transfer from the Given Tufts Organization was finalized on April 18.

“The library transition took place on Monday, April 18,” Mayor Strickland said. “The Village has now taken responsibility, with the library board and village staff, for the Given Library and the Tufts Archives. We look forward to developing that entity to be the best resource it can be for the residents of Pinehurst.”

The council gave its approval for the renewed leases for two buildings on the Pinehurst Harness Track. 

The Harness Track Restaurant and The Country Saddler tack shop were approved for five-year terms beginning on July 1 and going through June of 2027 at a 4.7% increase in rent for the coming year as based on the consumer price index (CPI).

“For some, it might catch their interest because 4.7% is lower than some of the more recently reported numbers of 7 or 8% that we’re seeing year over year right now,” Sanborn said. “What we typically do for all of our financial analysis in regards to CPI is that for each month of a calendar year, we calculate the CPI change from 12 months prior to that time and then we average all of those numbers. For this past year, it came out to 4.7%. While that seems low in the market we’re in right now, the same methodology will result in a higher CPI than the prevailing market might suggest when inflation is on the downturn. It kind of evens out in the end.”

The council then approved a finalized plan to construct new walkways on the northside of Pine Vista Drive and the southside of McKenzie Road. The plan is to have the walkways completed by late Fall of 2022, but that was noted as being “an aggressive timeline.”

After the regular council business was concluded, the public comments period was opened up and the discussion over short-term rentals continued to dominate the floor with speakers still being strongly divided.

No potential actions or ordinances over STRs have been brought forth for serious consideration from the council yet and the conversations on how the Village will progress continues to take place in the Village’s work sessions.

The Village of Pinehurst Council will next meet May 10.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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