Warren County commissioners adopted a $33.522 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2020-21 on June 23 that increased the county tax rate to 81 cents per $100 valuation of real property.
This represents a 2-cent increase over last year’s rate and a 1.2 percent growth over the past fiscal year. The new fiscal year begins today.
The estimated rates of collection are based on FY 2018-2019, adjusted downward by .5 percent and 1 percent, for property and motor vehicle taxes respectively, based on the uncertainty of the economic impact of the pandemic.
“It’s a difficult time with a lot of uncertainty,” said County Manager Vincent Jones earlier in mid-June. “We just don’t know how severe the impact will be. If the projections we make do not come in as expected, we have to make adjustments.”
Namely, revenue shortfalls are expected in property taxes in the amount of $96,848, sales taxes of $186,527, and motor vehicle taxes of $12,786.
The budget is balanced with $704,918 from unassigned fund balance, or cash reserves available for spending.
An amount of $235,000 was allocated for an increase in county employee salaries; and, as part of a retention plan, an additional $30,000 for sheriff deputies’ salaries.
Other expenditures include $3.010 million for Emergency Medical Services, $594,700 for fire protection, $200,590 for the Economic Development Commission and $463,631 for Cooperative Extension Service.
Other sizable county expenditures include $3.304 million for the health department, $4.984 million for the Department of Social Services, and $5.433 million for the public schools.
The budget also allocates $492,355 for the senior center, $490,296 for the library, $431,064 for the Recreation Department and $115,873 for the Veteran’s Service Office.
In addition, $175,000 will go toward supporting the early stages of the county’s broadband initiative, and $116,000 for weed control at Lake Gaston.
No change was made to the water rates.
“This year’s budget really speaks to our future in county government, the overall health of our county and the progression we’re looking for,” said Commission Chairman Tare “T” Davis. “This has been a landmark budget for us and I appreciate everything everyone has done.”