Tuesday, 24 April 2018 19:56

County proposes 1-cent tax decrease in upcoming fiscal year budget

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Halifax County commissioners this evening reached consensus on a proposed budget for the next fiscal year which calls for a 1-cent tax decrease.

The proposed $41,666,469 financial plan includes the following:

A 2.5 percent market adjustment for all full-time employees

Funding for each department to support and maintain current service levels

Funding for departmental unfinanced requirements

Additional school funding of $23 per student

Funding for pay for performance evaluation system

Absorption of increases such as health insurance and retirement

Some outside requests

Implementation of sheriff’s vehicle replacement plan

Funding for contingencies

 

The plan includes capital funding for Halifax Community College at $186,153 and $200,000 each for the county’s three school districts — Halifax County, Roanoke Rapids and Weldon.

The plan would leave the county with a working fund balance of $3,087,489, which would help the county meet any unexpected expenses.

The actual fund balance, which is the account the state Local Government Commission looks at is $27,214,345. That is a balance for audit purposes, which covers all the county’s funds. The LGC looks for the actual audited fund balances to be above 8 percent of the total budget. Under the proposal for the upcoming fiscal that percentage is 45.86 percent.

Commissioner Carolyn Johnson asked County Manager Tony Brown how a tax decrease would impact the county in the future.

“We’ve had great budgets,” Brown said. “We’ve pretty much recovered from the recession.”

He said, however, “If the economy tanks, we will have a challenge. What we’re doing is forecasting.”

“Based on history and what we know, are we leaving ourselves in a hole?” Johnson asked.

Brown said if the economy remains robust the situation will be fine.

Brown told the board the employee market adjustment is an important factor in the budget. “It allows them to go higher up. It’s for retention. When the economy is bad we have lower turnover.”

Said Commissioner Marcelle Smith: “We’ve got play catch-up. We’ve not restored ourselves fully to where we need to be.”

Brown said the county is still between 8 to 9 percent behind where it needs to be regarding pay.

The budget, after the finance department reviews what was presented tonight, will be presented at the board’s May 21 meeting.

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