Southern Pines preliminary budget sees tax rate remaining steady

Decision on St. John Paul development plan pushed back again

SOUTHERN PINES — The Town of Southern Pines Council met Tuesday, May 10, where they went over their preliminary budget for fiscal year 2023 and continued public hearings from their last meeting.

The Town of Southern Pines saw a tax base growth of 5% which means that the town received enough income to keep their property tax rate at $0.40 for another year, which it has remained at since 2017-18.

“Bottom line, all current service levels are maintained, property tax rate is held at $0.40, obviously we continue to move money towards capital assets and facilities, the rainy day fund stays in place, $266,000 in available fund balance for consideration of projects in the coming year, the ARPA funds we’ll be revisiting in the first quarter, the CLRP will be updated, staff will be adding Police planning and IT and we’ll continue to pay all of our debts,” said Town Manager Reagan Parsons.

The town will host a public hearing for the budget on June 14 and they are expected to vote on it following that hearing.

Continuing from last month’s meeting, the public hearing for the St. John Paul conceptual development plan opened up with comments from those opposed to the request by the church for their proposed developments.

The main issue raised was that the land is designated as Rural Estate in the UDO and the church’s plan to build a private school, athletic fields and religious institution would be going against that designation.

Those opposed to the development fear that Southern Pines will lose more of the land that was designated as “Horse Country” and the increase in traffic and noise from the development would do harm to the horses that lived adjacent to it.

However, the council voted to continue the hearing in their next meeting, after both sides agreed to third-party mediation.

“We’ve heard neighbors and their comments,” said Mayor Carol Haney. “If there’s a chance that you all could work something out, I don’t think this council would have a problem with us continuing it. If you all can come up with an agreement, it would be so much better than us doing it.” 

The council held another public hearing, this one for the creation of a municipal service district in order to fund parkway improvements related to a reimbursement agreement for the Morganton Park South Planned Development Area.

“The purpose of the municipal service district is that there would be a tax rate placed on the area over and above the tax rate that is town wide and those revenues would very specifically go toward the discussed parkway to run between 15-501 and Morganton Road to serve not only the Target development, but all future developments within this area in addition to just general traffic that is flowing on 15-501 and Morganton Road,” Parsons said.

There were no public comments made and, due to an NC statute, the council will have to vote to approve the municipal service district again before it will take effect.

The council then approved two architectural permits, one to build a 54,905 square foot medical office located in the planned development known as Morganton Park North and owned by Pinehurst Medical Group, LLC, and the other for a 6,760 square foot commercial retail building in Morganton Park.

Finally, the council passed Ordinance 1988, which was a charter amendment to conduct nonpartisan municipal elections using the plurality method, which was discussed at last month’s meeting.

The Town of Southern Pines Council will next meet June 14.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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