At their most recent meeting held Monday evening, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners voted 4 to 5 to approve a request to rezone 11 acres of land located on Ranger Island Road, Mozelle Sherrill Drive and Ranger Island Mariner Road in Denver (Catawba Springs Township). Commissioner Bud Cesena voted against the rezoning. 

“I realize that I’m going to be the only one voting against this, but I believe having townhomes and condominiums on the lakeside is a bad idea,” he said. “I think it shuts off views from folks and not a good thing. The positive thing is that it’s going to increase the county tax revenue dramatically and for the county, that’s a great thing. For the folks being displaced, it’s a bad thing. I’m not opposed to single family dwellings being out there. I’m opposed to the additional traffic. I’ve had several people call me and say that they’re in favor of the development, knowing their property values would go up, but don’t raise their property taxes. While I think this will be good for the county coffers, it’s also part of east Lincoln carrying the tax burden for this county which I think is bad.”

The Lincoln County Planning Board voted 5-0 to approve the rezoning.

The applicant, Ranger Island Marina Associates requested this rezoning to permit 27 attached single-family dwelling units, either townhomes or condominiums as well as three lots for single-family detached homes to be located on what’s known as Ranger Island which is connected to the rest of the subject property by a narrow strip of land. The property is currently zoned single-family residential. The applicant requested that it be changed to planned development residential. The property currently in use for mobile home lots some of which are being rented with many abandoned. Use of this property as a mobile home park with 34-38 spaces is grandfathered in. 

County Manager Kelly Atkins presented the 2022 budget to commissioners. A public hearing will be held on the budget on June 7. The commissioners will vote on the budget on that date as well. In order for the budget to balance, $2,370,865 will be moved from the fund balance to the general fund and property taxes will be increased by two cents. Of the two cents increase, 1.3 cents ($1,498,097) will be used to balance the budget. The remaining .7 cent ($806,667) would be earmarked for Capital Reserve Projects.

Expenses and revenues of the budget break out as follows:

Expenditures

Public Safety (Animal Services, EMS, Sheriff, Building Inspections, etc.) $35,499,558 (28.75%)

 Education $23,215,847(18.82%)

 Education Debt Service $8,909,250 (7.22%) (26.04% Total Education)

 Human Services $21,206,528 (17.19%)

 General Government $16,530,140 (13.40%)

 Transportation $1,687,657 (1.35%)

 Economic Development $3,492,092 (2.81%)

 Cultural and Recreation $3,773,372 (3.1%)

 County Debt Service $6,013,737 (4.86%)

 Other Financing/Transfers -$3,039,276 (2.5%) 

for a total of $123,367,457

Revenues

Ad Valorem Taxes/VTS/Sales Tax/Utilities Tax/Medicaid Hold Harmless $96,317,581

 Federal Revenues $8,833,389

 Sales and Services $8,288,977

 State Revenues $2,239,634

 State Shared $2,235,000

 Intergovernmental Revenues $1,005,000

 Other Taxes and Licenses $304,741

 Investment Earnings $100,000

 Miscellaneous $872,270

 Other Financing Sources $800,000

 Fund Balance Appropriated $2,370,865 

for a total of $123,367,457

For fiscal year 2022, 39 new employees were requested ($1,520,950.09) and 19 new employees were recommended ($527,589.59).

Several of the commissioners spoke on the importance of maintaining a healthy fund balance, which at this time is $45,588,705, but only $29.7 million can legally be utilized, as a savings account of sorts in the event of unforeseen difficulties in order to be able to look after county employees and operations.

“To me, it’s not easy to vote to raise taxes, yet I was one of the ones who proposed that we raise taxes because of the county’s needs and what we face in the future,” Commissioner Milton Sigmon said. “If we don’t raise taxes, then my question to anyone is how can we be competitive in the marketplace to try to attract new industry and new commercial growth without having the amenities that they’re actually looking for and wanting? To think that we can skimp by and not have a tax increase, you’re not being realistic. We can’t keep borrowing from the general fund.”

During the public hearing, community members spoke with regard to the comments made by certain commissioners about the homeless in Lincoln County during one of the budget workshops.

In other business, the commissioners approved an Industrial Incentive Grant to FMS Enterprise.  The company is investing just over $3 million in a building and equipment expansion. This expansion will create eight new jobs paying $34,000 including benefits. They also approved an application for a grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce for a Community Development Block Grant for Economic Development in the amount of $750,000 for property located at 215 Bonview Avenue in Lincolnton in the form of a loan. The county will administer the funds, loaning the money to the grantee. If there are no violations, the liability for the loan decreases by 20% for five consecutive years. At the end of the fifth year, if the company has complied with all requirements, the loan will be forgiven.

Commissioners proclaimed the week of May 16 - 22 as Emergency Medical Services Week.

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