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Cabarrus Co. commissioners pass budget that ‘supports growth, schools and thriving economy’

The county’s plan maintains the 74-cent tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:18 AM EDT
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CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - At their June 20 meeting, commissioners unanimously voted to adopt the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Cabarrus County budget.

The budget maintains the property tax rate of 74 cents per $100 of assessed value, for a total operating budget of just under $318 million.

With that tax rate, owners of a $217,000 house (the median single-family assessed home value in Cabarrus) would pay $1,606 a year in county property tax.

According to a press release from the county, commissioners also approved the tax increase requests made by Allen (1.5 cents) and East Gold Hill (1 cent) volunteer fire departments. Although the Flowes Store Volunteer Fire Department requested a tax rate increase of 7 cents, commissioners approved a 3-cent increase. The increases apply to every $100 of property value for residents who live within the respective fire districts.

Outside the general fund, the county is responsible for the administration of Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, Landfill Property, 911 Emergency Telephone and Health Insurance funds. The grand total of all funds is $425.3 million.

Following the budget plan for FY23, the board is expected to adopt the county’s Capital Improvement Plan in July, which would appropriate $19.1 million for deferred maintenance and capital projects.

Here are some highlights of the FY23 adopted budget plan:

Workforce additions

A competitive marketplace challenges the County’s ability to attract and retain high-quality employees. The FY23 budget addresses staffing in several key public safety areas and maintains service levels in high-demand areas. These adjustments include:

  • 39 additional County positions to increase response, create efficiency and manage needs within departments, including the Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Human Services, Planning & Development, Veterans Services, Library, Information Technology Services, Infrastructure and Asset Management, and the County Manager’s Office
  • Salary increases of 5 to 15% for 287 public safety positions as recommended by a recent market study that compared public safety pay rates to other NC cities and counties
  • A 1% cost-of-living adjustment for all County employees and merit pay increases of up to 4% based on individual performance
  • Funding for the County’s first Management Fellow Program and an increase in the number of internships offered by the County
  • Health and safety positions at Cabarrus Health Alliance, including:
  • Two On-site Wastewater staff members to address substantial wait times for septic and well permits
  • Two Food and Lodging staff members to complete required inspections
  • A School Nurse for the new Roberta Road Middle School

Education funding

The County’s budget supports high-quality educators and schools.

  • The County-paid supplement for certified staff employed by Cabarrus County Schools (CCS) and Kannapolis City Schools (KCS) increased for the ninth consecutive year. The FY23 budget addresses a funding cliff slated to hit after the 2024 school year by reserving funding equivalent to 1% of the County-paid local supplement for certified staff. The remaining 0.5% needed to fully cover the shortfall will be recommended for the FY24 budget.
  • $73.6 million (3.1% increase) in the CCS budget allocation to cover the rising costs of locally paid staff and technology; expenses for the new Roberta Road Middle School and Cabarrus Health Sciences Institute; and an additional $561,000 for facility improvement and grounds maintenance
  • $8.9 million (3.1% increase) in the KCS budget allocation to fund a 0.5% increase in the County-paid local supplement for certified KCS staff
  • $6.3 million (14.4% increase) in charter school funding to support nearly 3,000 Cabarrus County students predicted to enroll in charter schools next year (21% increase over past three years)
  • Per a 2021 agreement with CCS, the County is reserving that fiscal year’s funding for continuation and local supplements until FY25. This amount totals $4.9 million, with per-pupil allocations at $4 million for CCS, $487,887 for KCS and $345,693 for charter schools.
  • $3.95 million (5.3% increase) in funding allocated to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (Rowan-Cabarrus) for utilities, personnel and a new Building Automation Technician—co-funded by Rowan County

Other capital projects

The FY23 budget includes $38.2 million from the General Fund to the Community Investment Fund (CIF) for current and future debt payments. The budget also includes $22.1 million from the County’s pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) program. PAYGO is the use of cash rather than debt to pay for needed capital projects.

The County will not issue new debt in FY23, which is consistent with its every-other-year cycle.

PAYGO will fund a significant number of essential projects, including:

  • $11.6 million for various projects at County facilities
  • $4.2 million for CCS to fund their top 20 deferred maintenance projects
  • $2.5 million for CCS to replace the roof at W.M. Irvin Elementary School and Harris Road Middle School
  • $1.5 million for KCS to fund various deferred maintenance projects
  • $2.3 million for Rowan-Cabarrus to renovate Building 2000 for law enforcement, EMT/paramedic and certified nursing assistant programs
  • $2 million to program and design a new public safety training facility adjacent to Frank Liske Park in Concord

Funding sources for these projects are noted in the Cabarrus County Capital Project Ordinance scheduled for adoption by commissioners in July 2022, in addition to the general budget ordinance. Capital projects planned for beyond FY23 require a staff recommendation and formal board adoption before proceeding.

Citizen involvement

To increase transparency and community engagement in the process, the County’s budget was published online and made available in print for public viewing more than 30 days ahead of the vote.

As part of the Government 101 education series, the County held a citizen education program that introduced the public to its budget process and key details of the FY23 budget.

Commissioners also held a budget public hearing on June 6 at 5:30 p.m. and June 9 budget workshop.

To view FY23 budget information, visit cabarruscounty.us and click the “Cabarrus County FY23 Budget” tile.

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