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MAXTON – The Board of Commissioners here on Thursday during a convened special meeting approved a $ 3.5 million budget for fiscal year 2021-22 and agreed to further increase the city’s water and sewer charges.

The $ 3,599,375 spending plan, which goes into effect July 1, leaves the property tax rate at 80 cents per $ 100 home value. That means the owner of the $ 100,000 home would pay $ 800 a year in property taxes. The budget also provides for a 2.5% increase in the cost of living for urban workers.

The budget is comprised of $ 2,598,400 in General Fund balances, including $ 1,201,680 for public safety, $ 756,165 for administration, and $ 554,955 for public works. The combined water and sanitation funds are $ 888,475 and the Powell Bill grant is $ 112,500.

Two adjustments to the budget were made before the spending plan was approved on Thursday.

The first was to use $ 7,334 from the city’s emergency funds to pay for the one-stop early voting in counties of Robeson and Scotland. Maxton is a two-county parish, with a small part of the city in Scotland County and the rest in Robeson County.

City guides considered rejecting early voting in Scotland County, but were told by the North Carolina State Board of Elections that the city would either have to open early voting in both counties or neither, according to Maxton Town Manager Angela Pitchford.

The one-stop early voting cost for Scotland County would be $ 6,000 while the price for Robeson County is $ 1,334.

“The numbers aren’t right for me,” said Mayor Paul Davis. “That doesn’t make sense to me.”

About 50 of Maxton, Scotland County’s residents voted in the 2020 election, far fewer than the number of Robeson County’s townspeople who voted, Davis said.

“This is not fair to me,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Gilmore.

The commissioners nevertheless agreed to proceed with the early vote so as not to suppress the vote.

“If we don’t, it’s suppressing our rights,” Gilmore said.

Davis and Commissioner Paul McDowell urged the city government to contact the State Board of Elections to clarify how the costs will be added up.

It was decided Thursday that Emergency Funds would be used to increase the Robeson County’s annual allocation from $ 15,050 to $ 17,000 to help cover day-to-day operations. The decision was made after a presentation by RCPL Director Katie Fountain and Cynthia Lester, manager of the Gilbert Patterson Library in Maxton.

“We’re taking really big strides to improve library services to support your citizens and we need additional funding… Our costs haven’t stagnated in the last five years, but we’ve tried to keep up with the same amount as we can . ”Of financing. “Said Fountain during her presentation.

Fountain also asked the city to repay the $ 5,000 made available to the Gilbert Patterson Library Board of Directors to cover staff costs for the current fiscal year. The library board gave the city the money when the board was abolished. Fountain said the library also needs money to beautify the library in the coming fiscal year.

The commissioners denied the request and suggested that the library apply for grants.

The city abolished the Library Council in May 2020 to give the county system full operational control. After the board was abolished, all funds raised by the board were turned over to the city.

Fountain thanked the board of directors for increasing the annual budget.

“We are very happy,” she said.

On Thursday, commissioners voted to increase the city’s water and sanitation charges by 5% to make the city more competitive in applying for government grants to improve the city’s water and sanitation infrastructure.

“We’re at a crossroads where we don’t want to raise interest rates, but we probably need to,” said Davis.

The city considered increasing the rates by 3% or 5%.

“I feel like at this point, so we don’t have to come back and double-check, we have to go ahead and do the 5%,” said Gilmore. “If we use the 3% and find that our finances are not adequate, we have to go back to our citizens and say that we have to find an increase.”

“Technically it should be more than 5%,” said Commissioner Victor Womack.

The current residential water price is $ 16.16 for the first 2,500 gallons and the sewer is $ 17.77. A 5% increase would raise the water price to $ 16.97 and the wastewater tariff to $ 18.65 for the first 2,500 gallons.

The tariff change will only be formally resolved when the board of directors calls a public hearing on the subject.



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