The three-ring circus that has been Sampson County’s budget deliberations for going on three months ended a few minutes into Monday night’s meeting with unanimous adoption of a2014-15 budget with a 4.5 cent property tax hike.
With a budget ordinance waiting on the media table at the opening of the special-called meeting calling for the 4.5 cent hike, Commissioner Albert Kirby opened things up, saying he had heard from the people and making a motion for the tax hike, one he has been adamantly opposed to from the get-go.
That motion was immediately seconded by Commissioner Billy Lockamy and approved unanimously.
The 4.5 cent hike would put Sampson’s tax rate at 83 cent per $100 valuation.
Kirby followed his first motion with a second one, this asking staff to look into business tax audits that many believe will bring in revenue for the county. He asked that a presentation regarding the audit be brought before the board in January 2015.
Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of that motion, with Jarvis McLamb offering the only nay.
There was no immediate discussion about the oft-talked about and requested 5 percent across-the-board cuts to all departments that commissioners were prepared to visit last Wednesday, before a series of confusing votes that forced a call for a second interim budget.
That interim budget is now null and void.
Kirby called those cuts a “wake-up call.”