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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local County Commissioners To Hold Public Hearing On Budget June 4th

County Commissioners To Hold Public Hearing On Budget June 4th

New Hanover County will hold a public hearing June 4, at 6PM on the proposed budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year beginning July 1. The County released a summary of the proposed budget on Friday June 1.

The following was published by the County on Friday June 1, in their online newsletter:

FY12-13 RECOMMENDED BUDGET

THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WILL CONDUCT A PUBLIC HEARING ON JUNE 4, 2012 AT 6 P.M., OR THEREAFTER, IN THE ASSEMBLY ROOM OF THE NEW HANOVER COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 24 NORTH THIRD STREET, ROOM 301. A COPY OF THE RECOMMENDED BUDGET IS AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION IN THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ OFFICE AT THE NEW HANOVER COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER, ALL BRANCHES OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY, AND ON THE NEW HANOVER COUNTY WEBSITE:  www.nhcgov.com/Budget

The Board of County Commissioners instructed the FY12-13 Budget be prepared with a revenue-neutral tax rate and include funding for Cape Fear Community College bonds and a solution for 320 Chestnut Street.
The FY12-13 Budget is recommended with a 55.4 cents tax rate for the County and 7.9 cents for the Fire Service District.

Revaluation

The FY12-13 Budget is the first budget with the new values established by the revaluation. Historically, under normal economic conditions, the tax base increases during revaluation. For the first time, North Carolina counties are experiencing decreases in their tax base after revaluation. This year’s revaluation has caused the total value of the property to be taxed within the County to decrease from $34 billion to $29 billion.
How this decrease impacts individual taxpayers is dependent on the change in the individual’s tax value compared to the remainder of the County and the tax rate set by New Hanover County and its Municipalities.
On average, the estimated value of property within the County decreased approximately 15%. Property owners whose values decreased greater than the average will see a reduction in their property tax bill; while property owners whose values decreased less than the average will see an increase in their property tax bill, if all jurisdictions use a revenue-neutral tax rate.
The County is proposing a revenue-neutral tax rate, which means the property tax rate is adjusted to produce substantially the same revenues as the previous year. In simple terms, the County still requires the same amount of money to operate; so, if property values drop, rates must be raised to provide the same level of services. The revenue-neutral tax rate for New Hanover County is .554 cents per $100 of value

Personnel Issues

The County Employees continue to provide assistance in a customer service-focused and solution-driven manner. A total of nine positions are recommended in the General Fund. Four of the recommended positions are to replace temporary Telecommunicators (911). Temporary salaries were reduced by the same amount.
A Staff Engineer position is being recommended to assist with the County’s port, waterways, shore protection and beach renourishment efforts. The position will be funded by funds from the Room Occupancy Tax. Three additional positions are being added to Parks, Gardens and Senior Resource Center. One of the positions is to assist with landscaping for the Schools and the cost of the position will be offset by a reduction in the contribution to the Schools. Two positions are being added to enhance the operation of the Senior Resource Center and will be grant funded.
A position is being recommended to fund the DWI program. This program was previously grant funded and operated by the state. Grant funding was requested to fund the program in FY12-13, but the grant was not approved. The savings in the Detention Center will offset the cost of this position.
Funding is included for a 1% market adjustment of the salary schedule. An average of a 4.7% increase in the cost of the monthly health insurance premium is recommended to be shared by the County and the Employee.

Public Schools

Recommended funding for the Schools will provide $61.7 million for current operations and $21.5 million for debt service. In FY12-13, there will be 685 locally-funded positions in the School System. An amount of $0.75 million was recommended for capital outlay to complete the Wireless Schools Initiative.

Cape Fear Community College (CFCC)

Funding of $7.2 million is recommended for Cape Fear Community College’s operations, an increase of $1 million from FY11-12. CFCC requested a $2.5 million increase in funding for operations in FY12-13. In addition to the direct contribution to CFCC, $11.9 million will be expended for debt service in FY12-13, for $19.1 million. CFCC debt service increased $1.5 million between FY11-12 and FY12-13.

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT FUND
 
The Environmental Management Fund’s budget assumes no change to the tipping fee, $59/ton, with an annual tonnage of 200,000 tons. The budget funds current operations at the Landfill. Discussions continue on the best way to dispose of waste in the County. Recycling will continue to operate the existing drop-off sites.

FIRE SERVICE DISTRICT
 
The Fire Service District’s Budget is based on continued funding of existing operations at the current service level.

Strategic Plan
 
On June 20, 2011, the Commissioners adopted a Strategic Plan. The following is a list of focus areas and their relevance to the FY12-13 Recommended Budget.
· Superior Public Health, Safety and Education
Increase in funding for Cape Fear Community College and New Hanover County Schools is recommended. Debt service for Cape Fear Community College and New Hanover County Schools is funded.
· Intelligent Growth and Economic Development
Funds of $0.4 million are recommended for economic development in FY12-13. An amount of $0.3 million was budgeted in FY11-12 for economic development.
Development of parks continues with bond funds that were approved by the voters and the increased funding is included in the General Fund for maintenance of the expanded parks acres.
· Strong Financial Performance
The recommended budget maintains a strong appropriate level of fund balance. Revenue estimates are conservative due to the uncertainty and speed of the economic recovery.
Vehicle and Computer Replacement Programs were funded to provide sufficient funds to maintain government resources.
· Productive Strategic Partnerships
Meetings are taking place between the County Commissioners and the elected leaders of the Municipalities in the County, with the goal of providing services to all County citizens in the most efficient and cooperative manner possible.
The County will provide landscaping services to the Schools to collaborate on service delivery.
Continued membership in the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the National Association of Counties is recommended to influence legislation and external mandates and to enhance local autonomy.
· Effective County Management
Citizens Academies are being held to improve communications with, and education of, the Citizens, which will lead to a stronger County and more informed Citizens. Educational programs are held in the Schools to inform students and their parents on the functions of County Government. The Elementary School Civics Program was designed to educate third, fourth and fifth grade students about local government. Since its inception in 2011, 116 presentations have been given at 17 schools, teaching over 2,600 students about New Hanover County’s history, geography, government structure and services.
A number of training initiatives are funded to create and support an engaged workforce

Future Concerns

Actions that the state and federal governments are taking will impact the County. While every effort is being made to provide services to the citizens in the most effective way possible, some of the state and federal cuts may be so large that difficult service level decisions will need to be made.
The continued uncertainty to the speed and strength of the recovery will impact this and future budgets. Hopefully, the funding for economic development, as well as other economic development initiatives, can help continue the recovery.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the New Hanover County Budget Department at 910-798-7189.