NEW INFO: Pitt County Passes Budget

By: April Davis/ Dan Yesenosky
By: April Davis/ Dan Yesenosky

The budget battle for Pitt County commissioners is over; they passed a new spending plan Wednesday night.

The ad valorem tax rate will increase for Pitt County residents to 68 cents per $100 valuation. That's up from the current rate of 65.5 cents per $100 valuation.

Meanwhile, the sheriff's office will get more money than they were expecting but less than requested. The sheriff is expecting an estimated $100,000 from the income from housing federal inmates at the Pitt County Detention Center. Officially, the sheriff's office should get half of the money above the projected income. The other half would go to the general county fund.

Commissioners voted 8-1 to approve the budget, with Commissioner Smith objecting.

Pitt County Commissioners approved a plan to give half the profits made by holding federal inmates at the Pitt County Detention Center back to the Sheriff's Office. The compromise was approved at a meeting Wednesday night after dozens pf people packed a public hearing Tuesday night in favor of giving all or at least a potion of the profits to the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Neil Elks says he would have liked to have all the profits generated from the US Marshals program that began last year, but he says it is better than nothing. The sheriff says the first year of the program generated about a million dollars and he wanted the $200,000 in profits to go back to his department.

The Pitt County budget meeting Tuesday night had one issue in particular getting community members fired up: funding the sheriff's department says it deserves.

A public hearing at the meeting gave people the opportunity to speak out about money raised by the sheriff's department that might go straight into the county fund.

Sheriff Neil Elks pleaded his case to the commissioners. "Give me the tools that I need and the money and the opportunity to serve the citizens. We talk about the schools, we talk about this, but I'm the sheriff of all that.

The money in question is from housing federal inmates.

The commissioners did not take a vote Tuesday. Discussions will resume Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

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