Council to clarify tax, utility rates

By: By Nolan Gilmour -

LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg City Council hopes to dispel the myth about high city taxes and other finaicla matter when the board meets Tuesday.

During a special meeting on Oct. 4 to amend the fiscal budget to allow the city to adjust for the pending $9.1 million loan for the new City Hall and police station, council members asked City Manager Charles Nichols to give an update on the city’s tax rate and electric rates compared to surrounding areas to “get the facts straight.”

Critics of council and the City Hall project have questioned why officials are adding the extra burden of a multi-million dollar facility when taxes and other fees are so high.

They point to Scotland County having the highest tax rate in the state at $1.01 per $100 per valuation. That is just ahead of Edgecombe County at 95 cents and North Hampton County at 92 cents, according to the NC Association of County Commissioners.

But council members say the city’s tax rate — the only one that they control — is lower than many surrounding towns.

The current tax rate for the city of Laurinburg is $.40 per $100 valuation compared with Aberdeen at 47 cents; Pinehurst at 29 cents; Lumberton at 65 cents; and Rockingham at 50 cents.

Council also asked Nichols to give an update on the city’s fund balance during Tuesday’s meeting which begins at 7 p.m.

In other updates, Nichols will also talk about the progress on the municipal complex. The city plans to meet its construction management company, Ediface next week to discuss the construction schedule for the City Hall project.

There will also be updates on the county water system and the proposed fiber network and retail strategies for the city.

The Rev. Michael Edds and Mary Evans have asked to address the city on the city’s crime rate.

Council will also consider a request to close a portion of Main Street from Railroad to Church streets on Nov. 19 for the annual Laurinburg Christmas Parade.

The October meeting will be held at Laurinburg’s municipal building at 303 West Church Street.

By Nolan Gilmour

Reach 910-506-3171

Reach 910-506-3171