EAST LAURINBURG — Residents of East Laurinburg may be facing higher property taxes starting in Oct. if a proposed tax increase moves forward.
On Tuesday night, Mayor Wayne Caulder proposed the idea of a property tax increase at the East Laurinburg Board of Commissioners meeting, which could be voted on within the next few months.
The current property tax in East Laurinburg is 30 cents per $100 of property; the proposed tax would increase that figure to 50 cents per $100. The town has just over 200 people.
“I hate to say it, but we need to raise taxes,” Caulder said.
The main reason the board of commissioners is considering the tax increase is due to the $500 per week the town is spending on garbage disposal.
“I don’t want to raise the taxes, but it has to be done,” Commissioner David Cooper said.
Asked about a time frame for the potential tax increase, Caulder said on Wednesday he didn’t know if the commission would decide to raise taxes for the current fiscal year, which started in July, or wait until the next year.
“I can’t speak for the commissioners,” Caulder said. “That would be their call.”
The meeting also featured NC League of Municipalities Assistant Director of Business and Membership Development Services, Rob Shepherd as a speaker.
After East Laurinburg’s NC League of Municipalities membership expired at the end of June, Shepherd came to talk about why the town should renew their membership, which costs over $800 annually.
“We need the price to be decreased,” Town Clerk, Renee Snipes told Shepherd. “We can’t afford it.”
The East Laurinburg finance report for July shows a balance of $49,885. There was $8,455.86 worth of expenses and $2,811.26 of revenue for the month.
Shepard discussed ways in which the NC League of Municipalities can help the town save money and receive legal counsel; which is included in the membership fee.
There are a total of 540 members in the NC League of Municipalities; East Laurinburg joined in 1909 and was one of the first 100 members.
The NC League of Municipalities has created a “debt set off program” which allows members to report any unpaid taxes or fines to the League, where the information will be sent to debt collectors. This helps municipalities such as East Laurinburg collect back taxes owed by citizens.
The program could also save East Laurinburg money that could be spent on legal expenses.
“In a lot of cases the debt set off program pays for the annual membership itself,” Shepherd said.
After Shepherd finished speaking and left the building, Cooper made the motion to renew the membership and was unanimously approved by Commissioner Tyresa Haywood and Kenny Morton.
“We need to stay, it will help us make town ordinances,” Cooper said.
The East Laurinburg Board of Commissioners will meet next on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.
Reach Nolan gilmour at 910-276-2311