Published: Jun 21, 2012 05:02 PM
Modified: Jun 21, 2012 05:03 PM
PITTSBORO - The Chatham County commissioners passed an $88 million general fund budget with no change in the tax rate Monday night.
The budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 is $3.9 million, or 5 percent, higher than the amended county budget for this current fiscal year.
The tax rate of 62.19 cents per $100 of assessed property value means the owner of a $200,000 home will pay $1,243.80 in county taxes this year, the same as last.
The budget increases county school spending by nearly $1 million over this year and includes a 2-percent increase in the local supplement that augments teachers’ and teaching assistants’ state pay.
“We know that teachers and teaching assistants sometimes must buy classroom supplies out of their own pockets. If nothing else, we hope this support helps offset some of these personal expenses,” said commissioners Chairman Brian Bock.
Most of the increased school funding supports higher enrollment and helps the school system deal with the impact of state budget cuts made over the past four years. The adopted budget retained proposed funds for new school capital projects, including $304,690 to replace the roof at J.S. Water School.
Commissioners restored $28,500 of the proposed $45,000 reduction in the county’s appropriations for the Chatham County Economic Development Corp.(EDC), but $10,000 of the restored funding is for one-time expenses. Commissioners also added funding for a Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development assistant and Chatham Transit.
Bock said the budget takes initial steps to address county employee salaries inequities.
“Nearly four years ago, a pay study showed that our employees were, overall, paid 15 percent below their counterparts in surrounding local governments,” he said. “After four years with no salary adjustments, this budget will help us get salaries where they need to be.”
The budget includes funding for phase one of the pay study. All employees will receive at least 2 percent, but some will get more depending on how far below the local average their salary was based on the study, according to County Manager Charlie Horne.
The approved budget includes funds for debt service for a future jail, six months of operations for the new Justice Center and the first phase of renovations of the Courthouse Annex building once the Justice Center opens. Commissioners have asked staff to look at other options for addressing space needs before these funds can be spent.
The budget includes several fire district tax rate changes requested by the fire departments to fund needed equipment, utilities, fuel and other expenses. The tax rates will increase in five districts and decrease in one.
Copies of the approved budget will be available in a few weeks. You can see the county manager’s recommended budget at chathamnc.org
. Click on the Open Government tab. Printed copies of the recommended budget are at the three county libraries.
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