Upcoming budget may see reduction in tax rate

The 2024-25 budget has a property tax rate reduction of $0.01

CARTHAGE — Moore County residents could see (slightly) lower property tax bills, next year.

The Moore County Board of Commissioners received the recommended county budget for the next fiscal year at its May 21 meeting and it includes a proposed $0.01 reduction in the general fund tax rate.

“The budget really illuminates the county’s mission, vision and values,” said Moore County Manager Wayne Vest in a presentation to the board. “It walks the talk by ensuring funding for exceptional services, governing conservatively, demonstrating respect and compassion for our citizens and visitors, it is fiscally sound and it prioritizes a safe and secure community along with our health and human services. It supports sustainable growth and it provides cultural and recreational opportunities for our citizens and our visitors.”

The gross budget is just shy of $229 million and would see the general fund tax rate reduced from $0.33 to $0.32 per $100 valuation.

“A penny on the tax rate generates about $2.2 million,” Vest said. “2023 was a revaluation year and those new property values were used to develop the 2024 budget and during a revaluation year, we have to post the revenue neutral rate. So last year, the revenue neutral rate would have been almost $0.4675, but what we actually adopted was almost $0.0125 less than revenue neutral. With the one cent further reduction on the general fund this year, we’ll almost be $0.0225 below the revenue neutral rate as was identified in fiscal year 2024.”

Some of the highlights of the recommended budget includes funding $38.1 million of Moore County Schools’ $38.8 million request, providing a 4% cost of living increase for county employees, as well as fully funding the existing components of the benefits and compensation package, adding 14 positions including eight full-time paramedics, funding 100% of operational costs for fire commissions and increased funding for various departments.

“If you look at the overall budget, we — unlike the federal government which is proposing a 17.34% increase in your overall budget from $6.2 trillion to $7.3 trillion this year — Moore County is recommending a 6% reduction in our budget for the year,” said Board Chair Nick Picerno. “It also looks at a tax reduction while still prioritizing our law enforcement at around a 10% increase, our veterans at about 15%, recreation at 10% and we also have schools going up about 2%. Our debt services, thank the Lord Jesus, our interest is going down by 9% and the total expenditures are going down 6%.”

A public hearing on the budget will be held on June 18.

“It’s a budget that goes through the priorities of this board,” continued Picerno. “We wanted to take the least amount of money and still make sure you’re protected and to make sure to give you the necessary amount of services that you need whether that be for accidents and illnesses or a tragedy such as a fire or other bad things.”

The board will also consider proposed fare increases for the Rural Operating Assistance Program at its June 18 meeting.

By Ryan Henkel

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