Cabarrus Commissioners receive County Manager’s budget proposal
Cabarrus County Manager Mike Downs presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 (FY21) at the June 1 Board of Commissioners meeting.
As presented, the proposed FY21 general operating budget of $276 million maintains an ad valorem tax rate of 74 cents per $100 of property value. For owners of a $210,000 house (the median single-family assessed home value in Cabarrus), that equates to $1,554 a year in County property tax.
COVID-19 has hurt property and sales tax—the County’s major revenue sources.
The County projects sales tax to drop 17% from FY20 to FY21. The January 2020 revaluation showed a 17% increase in commercial and residential real property value; however, lower collection rates and fewer new car purchases mean property tax will fall short of predictions.
At the same time, the County is addressing growing demand for services, particularly human services and public health.
The FY21 budget will focus new funding on:
- Quality-of-life services
- County workforce
- Essential building projects
“Cabarrus County has a strong history of strategic planning and investment that has prepared us for uncertainties,” Downs said. “This year is no different—we continue to look forward. We’re planning not for just the coming year, but for many years to come.”
- Increased educator pay supplements – Includes funds for a 0.5% increase in County-paid supplements to educators employed by the Cabarrus County and Kannapolis City school districts. With this year’s increase to the County-paid portion, the proposed FY21 pay supplement for Cabarrus County Schools will be 10% (includes a 0.5% increase from the Cabarrus County Schools District) and Kannapolis City Schools will be 7%. Because the state pays teachers consistently across the state, the local supplement helps attract and retain teachers.
- Open/operate new schools – Includes funds to open and operate Hickory Ridge Elementary and West Cabarrus High beginning in August 2020. The County will also fund a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Hickory Ridge Elementary and nurse at each school.
- Maintain school operations – Includes funds to maintain operations for Cabarrus County Schools, Kannapolis City Schools and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. This is a 2% increase from last year.
- New courthouse – Includes funds and positions to operate a new courthouse starting in January 2023. To maintain security and safety in the larger facility, the new courthouse will require additional positions, including:
- 22 deputies and three sergeants to secure the building
- Seven custodians to clean the building
- Two mechanics to keep building systems operating efficiently
- A technical specialist
The County will fill these positions as needed and apply the balance of funds to one-time capital projects in FY21 and FY22.
- Cabarrus Health Alliance – Includes funds to increase school nurse benefits and hours, provide an additional 1% match for employee retirement, change two school nurse positions from part-time to full-time, and fund school nurses for Hickory Ridge Elementary and West Cabarrus High
- Extending hours at the Midland Branch of the library – Includes funds for a new full-time library assistant. This allows the branch to remain open an hour later in the evenings and have an additional operating day each week.
- Salvation Army Center of Hope – Includes a one-time payment to help build a new homeless shelter that serves families and children.
- Appropriate pay – Includes funds to pay staff at levels that match similar positions across the state. Also funds a 1% cost-of-living adjustment and performance pay scale of up to 4% for employees.
- New support – Includes funds for 42 positions to meet service demand. These positions will remain vacant until the County reviews first-quarter revenues and confirms the positions are sustainable.
ESSENTIAL BUILDING PROJECTS
Community Investment Fund (CIF) – Includes a $40 million payment from the General Fund to the CIF for current and future debt and other one-time capital projects.
Capital projects include:
- EMS headquarters – Includes $2.5 million in FY21 for design and $14 million in FY22 for construction
- Frank Liske Park updates – Includes $1.64 million in FY21 to replace water and sewer lines, playground equipment, miniature golf course, restrooms, snack bar and offices. Another $4 million in FY22 will replace the boathouse and build a new boardwalk, bridge and splash pad.
- Future library expansion – Includes $10 million in FY22 to address capacity and service delivery at our libraries. The project requires additional funds for operations and staffing.
- New high school – Includes $4.58 million in FY22 to design a new high school for Cabarrus County Schools and $70 million in FY24 for construction
- R. Brown McAllister Elementary replacement – Includes $450,000 in FY21 for site development and $30 million in FY22 for construction of the new school
- West Cabarrus Library and Senior Center – Includes $2.5 million in FY21 to design a shared building and $25 million in FY24 to build or purchase a building. The project requires additional funds for operations and staffing.
Keep up with the budget
Following the presentation, Commissioners will hold virtual budget work sessions on June 2 and 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. The sessions allow the board to discuss details of the proposed budget with management and external funded agencies.
The Board will hold a public hearing and vote on the proposed budget during a virtual meeting on June 15 at 6:30 p.m. The following three sources will be available for input during the public hearing and for informal public comment:
- Conference call number 704-920-2023 pin 1234
- Set up a video meeting with firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 11.
- Email comments to email@example.com by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16.
A final budget must be adopted by June 30. FY21 runs from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
The County will offer a virtual Government 101 course on Tuesday, June 9 and Thursday, June 11, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The series will use active presentations and demonstrations that inform participants on how the County creates a budget, explains details of the FY21 budget and gives residents the opportunity to participate in open discussions with the county manager and commissioners. To register for Government 101, call 704-920-2336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow all the latest FY21 budget news at www.cabarruscounty.us/budget.
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