EAST LAURINBURG —Has the town of East Laurinburg approved its new fiscal year budget?
It is hard to tell by talking to town officials just what action has been taken.
East Laurinburg, like all 552 municipalities in North Carolina, has until June 30 to approve a budget. Each plan is supposed to take effect on July 1.
The East Laurinburg Board of Commissioners began the drafting process for the town’s 2017-18 fiscal year budget on June 6, but it appears the board has not held a public hearing or voted to approve the ordinance since then.
East Laurinburg Mayor Wayne Caulder said the board expects to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on July 11 — nearly two weeks after the budget is supposed to be set.
After the June 6 meeting, the town planned to hold its public hearing in late in the month, according to Jennifer Lett, East Laurinburg finance officer. No such hearing has been announced.
East Laurinburg Commissioner Tyresa Haywood also said the board had yet to adopt a new budget.
“We are going to approve the budget at our next meeting,” Haywood said.
But when asked about Friday’s deadline, Haywood rethought her response.
“They approved it in May, that is what I’m thinking,” Haywood said. “I was absent when they approved it. It has been approved and sent to our attorney.”
The N.C. League of Municipalities lists Chris Wood in Laurinburg as the board’s attorney. But a call to a number listed for Wood, showed that he was no longer practicing law, according to a person who answered the telephone there.
County Manager Kevin Patterson said a municipality must approve its budget or adopt a continuing resolution on the proposed budget by the last day in June. Cities and towns that fail to do so, cannot legally spend any money, Patterson said.
Every other incorporated municipality in Scotland County has adopted their 2017-2018 budgets.
As of the board’s latest meeting, East Laurinburg expects to mimic last year’s budget of $70,025 and have not planned any increases fees. The property tax rate of 30 cents per $100 valuation will remain the same, officials said.
According to the NC League of Municipalities, the main function of town boards is to adopt an annual municipal budget that determines what services will be provided and at what level. The board must set the municipal property tax rate when it adopts is annual budget. By law, all North Carolina budgets must be balanced.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171