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Hope Mills adopts budget; tax rate unchanged


HOPE MILLS — The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners on Monday approved the fiscal 2022-23 budget with a few adjustments to the wording of some entries.

The $15.5 million budget keeps the property tax rate at 46 cents per $100 valuation.

No one spoke during a public hearing on the proposed spending plan.

The budget was approved unanimously. Commissioner Bryan Marley was absent on official business but sent an internal note to Mayor Jackie Warner informing her of his confidence in the proposed budget should the board vote on it, Warner told commissioners. 

“I think it's a really good proposal,” Town Manager Scott Meszaros said. “It’s a good framework to get us moving forward.”

Before the vote, several commissioners expressed concern about the wording in part of the document that said departments had the authority to move budget funds around without having to bring it before the board.

Mayor Pro Tem Kenjuana McCray asked the town manager to explain that section. Drew Holland, the town’s finance director, stepped in to answer the question. Holland said a department can do an internal budget amendment without having to bring it to the board for a vote.

“It’s an internal adjustment and doesn’t increase the overall budget and it's not moving it from one department to another,’’ Holland said. “It just moves funds within the department. It’s a standard and has been in our budget every year.”

According to the wording in the budget, the departments were not required to inform the board about moving the funds.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen that language within a budget,” Commissioner Grilley Mitchell said.

The wording also said the funds could be moved “without limitations.” The ambiguous wording and “without limitations” bothered McCray, Mitchell and Commissioner Joanne Scarola.

Holland assured the board that the movement of funds was signed off by the head of the department. Mitchell said that’s not what the language states and said ”it’s very ambiguous.”

Scarola agreed with Mitchell, saying it didn’t matter to her that it has always been that way.

“That’s not very transparent,” Scarola said.

The board agreed the wording needed to be changed before approving the budget. The town’s legal counsel said the board could still approve the budget with those noted changes without having the new wording in place.

The commissioners agreed and approved the budget.

The board also met in closed session for personnel and contract discussion and attorney-client advice.

Jason Canady covers Hope Mills for CityViewTODAY. He can be reached at jcanady@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Hope Mills, Board of Commissioners, budget