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Bless our Hearts: I truly wish this country would come together for the good of All mankind and learn to love each...

County board to consider budget, again

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Ginger Livingston

Monday, June 17, 2019

Adoption of the county’s 2019-20 fiscal year budget and a public hearing on a sand mine permit request are two of the items on today’s Pitt County Board of Commissioners agenda.

The commissioners’ first attempt to adopt the proposed $251 million budget failed with a 5-4 vote following the June 4 budget hearing.

The proposed budget, a 6.2 percent increase over the current budget, included a 3.3-cent tax increase for general fund and economic development spending. Eastern Pines, Winterville Rural and Black Jack fire departments also sought increases in their fire service district tax.

The 3.3-cent tax hike is requested because revenue growth from the county’s growing tax base did not produce the money to pay for mandated increases in employee retirement funding and health insurance premiums, along with increased appropriations for public schools, Pitt Community College, the sheriff’s office, social services and economic development.

The budget did not include $2.36 million sought by the school system that would raise the local supplement pay of teachers to 7 percent. The supplemental pay increase brought about 100 teachers and their supporters to the June 4 public hearing on the budget.

Sand mine permit

PSD Properties is seeking a conditional use permit to operate a “sand mine” on property owned by Jerry Ben Nichols and Elsie Carawan Nichols. The site is located on the northern side of Alvin Road north of its intersection with N.C. 33 East. The subject property is nearly 170 acres, of which approximately 19.6 acres is proposed to be used for the sand mine.

The county previously issued a conditional use permit to mine sand in 2008.

Sand was excavated, but the operator never obtained a state mining permit. The mining operation received a violation notice in 2010 because the company didn’t install screening berms and it encroached within 100 feet of the separation distance required by the county zoning ordinance. Operations stopped and the conditional use permit was voided after it was inactive for more than one year.

According to documents presented the Board of Commissioners, planning staff is recommending approval of the conditional-use permit if the operator obtains a floodplain development permit from Pitt County planning prior to development; obtains an operating permit from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Energy, Mineral and Land Resources Division prior to any work on site; and restores the required buffer area for the existing excavation area where it has encroached within 100 feet of the permit boundary line.

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