Pittsboro Commissioners hold first meeting of the year, discuss annual audit

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PITTSBORO — The town’s board of commissioners discussed Pittsboro’s annual audit and unanimously passed language changes to a unified development ordinance regarding how the town handles rezoning requests during its first meeting of 2022 on Monday.

State law requires the town to submit to an independent audit every year to examine Pittsboro’s finances and to ensure no fraud occurred.

Jay Sharpe — who conducted Pittsboro’s audit — said his investigation didn’t detect any fraud or discrepancies.

“I think you’ll see this is all good news for the town,” Sharpe said. “Everything looked good, and there were no issues with the audit.”

The audit report showed the town’s general fund balance — the difference between financial assets and liabilities in a governmental fund — had more than doubled over 10 years from $2.5 million to $5.5 million. The report broke down by percentage how much of the town’s 2021 general fund balance was spent on various areas or departments throughout the year.

According to Sharpe, Pittsboro spent 44% of its 2021 general fund in public safety, 20% on general government operations, 14% on cultural and recreational programming, 8% on environmental protection, 6% in transportation, 5% in public works funding and 4% in debt services.

The audit also revealed Pittsboro has seen a steady increase of property tax revenue, with 2021’s revenue peaking at $5.9 million. However, the property tax rate itself has remained unchanged since 2014, according to Sharpe.

“That was the last year the town had a tax rate increase, but your revenues have gone up over the last decade,” Sharpe said. “Your town is financially healthy at the end of 2021.”

Commissioner John Bonitz called the audit report very positive overall in terms of Pittsboro’s financial position.

“It is a reassuring overall picture,” he said.

The board of commissioners also held a public hearing Monday evening regarding an amendment to a Unified Development Ordinance — ZTA 2021-06.

The Pittsboro Planning Board presented amendments to the UDO, which was passed last May. Some of these included changing the maximum development lot coverage allowed to 70%, adding Conditional Rezoning — a formal request for a zoning change — as a requirement for within a parallel conditional zoning district, altering some uses of light and heavy industrial zoned districts, adding green development incentives, removing the Planning Board recommendation for Special Use permit requests and revise the order of board proceedings.

The Pittsboro Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend these changes to the UDO.

Planning Department Director Theresa Thompson, who presented the changes to the board, said the UDO amendments address the issues planning staff have seen since the ordinance’s adoption.

“When we reformatted this, a lot of issues came up that were not a part of the priority list items that we began with, but we knew that it [the UDO] needed to move forward with the reformat,” Thompson said. “We wanted to provide an update with what we had done so far, where we are now and what’s to come.”

Thompson said the “Parking Lot list” of priority items for the town can be adjusted if the board needs to add or remove certain items from the list.

“If there is something we find is more pressing than some of the items we listed tonight, we can always pivot,” she said.

The board approved the amendments to the UDO unanimously. Commissioner Kyle Shipp thanked planning staff for their efforts to come up with solutions to issues in the ordinance’s original language.

“I appreciate the effort and the continued effort on a better solution,” Shipp said. “I think this is good in the meantime.”

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com.


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