During a special meeting of the Warren County Board of Commissioners Monday night, County Manager Vincent Jones presented a proposed $31.6 million budget for fiscal year 2019-20 that would hold the tax rate at 79 cents per $100 valuation.
There are no proposed increases in water, sewer or solid waste fees during the 2020 fiscal year.
Jones told commissioners that the proposed budget represents an increase of 1.2 percent from the current budget, due largely to what he described as a modest growth in revenues and expenditures. The increase includes the use of $524,685 in state education lottery funds to support capital improvement and school security improvements. The tax rate of 79 cents per $100 valuation is based upon a total valuation of $2.28 billion in fiscal year 2020, down from $2.4 billion in the current fiscal year.
The proposed budget takes into consideration anticipated growth in revenue as follows: $144,803 in property taxes, $58,000 in sales tax and $89,900 in permits and inspection fees.
Jones reported an anticipated increase in general fund revenue of $376,070 from the current fiscal year. However, the Warren County Health Department and Department of Social Services are expected to face reductions in revenue due to North Carolina Medicaid transformation in which services would be provided through managed care partners. Jones said that funding for Kerr Area Transportation Authority services, currently set at $43,397, may need to be adjusted as a result.
The proposed budget will allocate $252,838 from fund balance, or cash reserves, for one-time expenditures. Jones also noted that he recommends the use of cash reserves for the required purchase of voting equipment at an estimated cost of $270,000 if the State Board of Elections certifies a new voting system in the upcoming fiscal year.
Employees who have worked with the county for at least two years would see salary progression increase ranging from 1-2.5 percent, depending on length of employment. Jones said that the budget also funds an employee compensation study.
Four new full-time positions were added in the proposed budget: assistant county manager, community support investigator at the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and two Warren County Detention Center personnel. At the same time, however, the budget reduces travel expenditures by 10 percent. Jones explained that the assistant county manager’s position has been budgeted at $73,991, salary plus benefits, for an estimated six to nine months.
The proposed budget also includes $283,509 in additions to the county’s vehicle fleet, including the purchase of one ambulance, three patrol cars and one van for the WCDC, and a new truck for parks and recreation.
The proposed budget also: restores $200,000 in funding to Warren County Schools, holds county allocations for Vance-Granville Community College and Lake Gaston weed control at current levels, funds a $35,000 training initiative for the 911 center and funds a $14,000 Economic Development Commission marketing initiative. Additional allocations in the proposed budget include $55,000 for nonprofits and $4,000 to public works to establish a Warren County chapter of Keep America Beautiful.
The proposed budget allocates $5.3 million for Warren County Schools, an increase from $4.9 million in the current fiscal year. The school system requested a total of $5.98 million for 2019-20. The proposed county budget holds the allocation for the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy at $119,000, increases capital outlay funding from $175,000 in 2018-19 to $524,685 and reduces the allocation for other priority needs from $254,742 in 2018-19 to $80,000.
The proposed budget funds major building repairs as follows: $12,000 for courthouse improvements, $21,000 for replacement of the board of elections building’s roof, $40,000 for five water sourced heat pumps at DSS, $35,000 for floor replacement at the health department and $30,000 for various parking lot improvements.
The board of county commissioners will conduct a budget work session on May 22 and budget public hearing on June 3. The board is scheduled to adopt the proposed budget during a budget special meeting on June 19, followed by its regular work session. All meetings will begin at 6 p.m. at the Warren County Armory Civic Center, 501 U.S. Hwy. 158-business east, Warrenton.