WASHINGTON, N.C – On Monday night, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners received the Manager’s Recommended Budget for the Fiscal Year 2023-2024.
A copy of the Recommended Budget is available for public inspection online at www.BeaufortCountyNC.gov, and a physical copy can be viewed at the Beaufort County Administration Building located at 121 W. Third St. in Washington.
The Board of Commissioners and county staff will participate in a series of budget workshops over the next several weeks. These workshops and meetings are open to the public and will be held at 136 W. Second St. in Washington. Video recordings of the workshops will be posted on the Beaufort County website and YouTube page. The budget workshop schedule is as follows:
- Thursday, May 18, 5 p.m. –– General Fund review
- Thursday, May 25, 5 p.m. –– Remainder of General Fund and Enterprise funds
- Tuesday, May 30, 5 p.m. –– Service Expansions
- Wednesday, May 31, 5 p.m. –– Finalize budget
- Monday, June 5, 5:30 p.m. –– Public hearing on budget at regular Board Meeting. The Board may adopt the budget on this night.
- Monday, June 12, 5:30 p.m. –– This is a special called meeting to adopt the budget. It will happen only if the Board does not adopt the budget on June 5.
In preparing the Recommended Budget, County staff considered that the County’s sales tax revenues, which have shown strong growth with returns reaching record levels, could be slowed by rising inflation and the efforts by the Federal Reserve to cool it.
Here’s an overview of the Recommended Budget:
- Maintains the County ad valorem tax rate at $0.625 for each $100 of assessed valuation. The tax rate was cut in the FY 21-22 budget by $0.01 and remains at that level for the third straight year despite increased inflation pressures. At the assumed collection rate, this will generate approximately $39.9M in property tax revenue.
- Maintains all County services and programs provided in the prior year. This is done without a tax increase despite the impact of rising inflation rates and a continuing increase for services as the County moves further away from the pandemic.
- Recommends a general fund budget of $69,517,581, which is 0.8% greater than the original FY 22-23 budget.
- Increases the K-12 public school system funding level over the prior year by $1,470,463 or 8.7%. This includes a 6.2% CPI adjustment for operations and additional statutory sales tax capital funding. The Beaufort County Community College funding increase of $190,398 meets the funding request by BCCC.
- Continues to fund the Capital Improvements Fund with $0.01 of projected property tax revenue as established in the FY 19-20 budget.
- Maintains all districts' prior year fire and EMS tax rates.
- Increases the solid waste fee by $5 to offset the costs of increasing solid waste disposal and inflation.
- Does not increase water rates. Rates are equal across all districts.
- Maintains an administrative charge to enterprise funds to help offset the costs to the General Fund for providing services to the enterprise funds. The administrative charge is based on a per-unit fee specific to the services provided to the enterprise fund.
- Does not appropriate any General Fund fund balance.
- The continuation budget projects a surplus that is recommended to be used to fund an updated pay and classification plan and provide a minimum 5% base salary increase (5% cost of living adjustment or the increase recommended by the salary study, whichever is greater) so that efforts by the Board to modernize the pay and classification plan and reach market rates are not lost due to the current 12-month Consumer Price Index of 5.5% and the prior year 12-month CPI of 8.8% that was only able to be funded at 5%.