Maxton adopts budget, tax rate remains same

MAXTON — The Maxton Board of Commissioners have approved a $2.3 million budget for 2015-16 that the town’s finance director said is “tighter” than in previous years.

According to Myra Tyndall, the budget includes a General Fund of $1.6 million and a Water and Sewer Fund of of about $735,000. She said although tight, the budget will meet the needs for the town during the next year.

Tyndall said that the budget maintains the town’s tax rate of 80 cents per $100 of property value. It does not include a cost-of-living increase for town employees, any new positions, and there are no new services, programs or major capital projects.

The town is offering paid health insurance to its 20 full-time employees for the first time. Tyndall said that the town is paying 80 percent of employee premium, costing the town about $120,000.

“But offering health insurance is a good benefit for our employees,” Tyndall said.

The budget does include an increased fee scale for picking up disposed brown and white goods, Tyndall said. The cost for holding yard sales is also being increased from $1 to $5.

No one commented on the budget during a public hearing just before it adoption on Tuesday. The budget becomes effective July 1.

The commissioners also voted to close the CSX railroad crossing at North Third Street. The other crossing considered for closing was at North First Street.

CSX had given the town the option of closing the North or Third Street crossings, as well as the crossing at Brooklyn Street. In return for one’s closing, CSX will make improvements to the other two crossings.

The town had originally been in favor of closing the crossing on North Third Street, but changed direction after residents expressed opposition to that closing, saying doing so would restrict pedestrian access to key elements of the town.

But at their meeting in April, the commissioners were told by residents of North First Street that their road was “vital” to the neighborhood and the town. The board was presented with a petition with 150 signatures urging that the North First Street crossing remain open.

In other business, the commissioners:

— Heard a brief presentation from David Graham, a native of Maxton, on his plans to renovate the old Maxton Depot into a open-air market where fresh produce can be sold. His goal, Graham said, is to provide a facility where people get fresh produce that is health.

Graham said the market would also add to “downtown commerce” by creating new jobs. He also visualizes the market as an educational center where nutrition classes can be taught, young people can learn how to can fruits and vegetables, and farmers can share farming information.

— Approved dedicating the cul-de-sac on West Cottingham Street in honor of Willie B. Sr. and Maggie Fairly McNeill. The request was made by their daughter Lillye Dumas, a former commissioner. Dumas said that the name recognition is timely since the family’s 53rd family reunion is approaching.

Bob Shiles is a reporter for The Robesonian. He can be reached at 910-416-5165.