Moore County has finally received a response from state lawmakers to its resolution on school funding.

The resolution points out that the way the state calculates how many teachers to fund in each district shortchanges every district in the state, because it doesn’t take into account the number of teachers actually needed to serve the students in each school.

The Board of Commissioners have passed the resolution in three consecutive meetings, and the Parents for Moore advocacy group mailed a copy to every county and school district in the state.

During the Commissioners’ Tuesday, July 21 regular meeting, Chairman Nick Picerno reported that the county has now received responses to the resolution from Governor Pat McCrory, Senator Jerry Tillman, Representative Allen McNeill, and Philip Price of the NC Department of Public Instruction, “all acknowledging that the hole we have identified certainly does exist.”

“Now that we have people in our state government acknowledging the problem, we’ll have to continue to work on a way to fix that,” Picerno said.

He added that the Board of Commissioners will hold a critical Issues Summit on September 10 and 11 that will include a session with the Board of Education on funding issues. State lawmakers will also be invited to that session.

For that meeting, Picerno said he had asked Moore County Schools [MCS] for “a real detailed, non-political, no spin” presentation on where its fund are being spent — “Where we are actually spending our money, from the state, and from the county taxpayers.”


Occupancy tax increase 

The Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution in support of House Bill 504, which would allow Moore County to raise its occupancy tax — which is tacked onto hotel bills — from three precent to six percent.

“I am not advocating an increase in the occupancy tax,” Chairman Picerno stressed, adding that the Convention and Visitors Bureau — which is the prime beneficiary of the tax — would have to come up with a convincing plan, supported by its board, before an actual increase would be considered by the Commissioners.

He noted that many other NC counties currently have the authority to increase their occupancy tax rate to six percent.


Other business

Among other business conducted during their Tuesday July 21 meeting, the Commissioners: 

• Approved an expenditure of $1,229,355 to pay off a mortgage on new hangars at the Moore County Airport, and approved a settlement agreement resolving a dispute between the County and the Airport Authority over the amount of sales tax the county is to reimburse to the Airport each year.

• Approved a general management contract with the Moore County Airport Authority to manage the Airport.

• Approved funding agreements valued at $100,000 for Partners in Progress and $25,000 for the Moore Alive website.

• Approved the installation of the US motto, “In God We Trust,” on the exterior of the new elevator shaft structure at the Moore County Courthouse and on the wall of the Commissioners’ meeting room, behind the dais. The lettering and installation is being donated by a private group.

• Appointed Gary Briggs, who led the County’s property recent revaluation effort, to serve as Tax Administrator for a two‐year term, and charged him with the collection of taxes for FY2016.

• Heard from interim tax administrator Johnnie Edmonson that the tax department had collected 99.51 percent of the taxes owed in FY2015.

• Recognized retiring EMT Mike Allred as a recipient of the Order of the Longleaf Pine.

• Approved grants to various non-profit agenciies, including:

- $47,500 for Friend to Friend.

- $3,200 for Habitat for Humanity.

- $5,600 for the Moore County Literacy Council.

- $7,003 for the Arts Council.

- $6,400 for the Coalition for Human Care.

- $419,864 for Sandhills Center for Mental Health.

- $92,717 for Communities in Schools.

• Approved a $30,000 contract with Radio Communications Company for 911 tower maintenance.

• Approved contract amendments # 3 and 4 with Aramark Correctional Servies, LLC

• Accepted a $100,000 grant under the Urgent Repair Program of the NC Housing Finance Agency.

• Appointed Frank Thigpen, Kathy Liles, and Penny Johnson as members of the Board of Adjustment, and reappointed Paul Hodges as an alternate member.

• Appointed Tiffany Bar-tholomew and Beckie Kimbrall to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

• Appointed Jimmie Ann Lassiter to the Jury Commission.

• Appointed Debra Ensminger to the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

• Appointed David Lambert to the Planning Board.

• Appointed Bryan Phillips and Pamela Alsobrook to the Transportation Advisory Board.

• Appointed Thomas Marsh as ETJ member of Southern Pines Zoning Board of Adjustment.

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