County’s budget makes important investments to benefit everyone in the community

Posted June 7, 2021 at 5:47 pm     Category: County CommissionersFinanceNews Release

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, in a 3-2 vote, adopted a $458 million balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 (FY 21-22) at its meeting June 7. The adopted budget begins July 1, and decreases the tax rate from 55.5 cents to 47.5 cents per $100 value.

The county conducted its four-year revaluation this year and property values are, on average, 33 percent higher, which increases property tax revenue for the county. So Commissioners lowered the tax rate to 47.5 cents, which is above the revenue neutral rate. This will ensure that the county can continue doing business and serving the community well, meet the board’s strategic priorities, and invest in important services and enhancements that will benefit residents now and into the future.

“We have clear priorities and sustainable investments in this budget to make our community better and ensure every single resident – from our youngest to our oldest – has the resources and support they need to thrive,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “Our tax rate will be lower than most other counties our size, and will make important investments in public health and safety, economic development, parks and trails, and county employees who serve the public and make our work possible. This budget also makes a strong and clear commitment to public education, which represents about 38 percent of the county’s overall budget.”

The FY 21-22 budget invests in strategic enhancements that will benefit the community and further the county’s strategic plan. Among other initiatives, the budget:

  • Invests $121.5 million in New Hanover Public Schools, increasing per pupil spending to $3,434, adding three more Pre-K classrooms, and increasing teacher supplements from an average of $4,183 a year to an average of $9,000 a year, placing New Hanover County at the very top in the state for teacher supplements. More details about the county’s investments in education can be found in Chair Olson-Boseman’s editorial here.
  • Provides $22.5 million to Cape Fear Community College for operating expenses and debt service.
  • Supports 35 nonprofit agencies with $1.05 million in funding and an additional three nonprofits with $278,231 for year two of three of the county’s Social Impact Fund pilot program.
  • Provides $816,422 in strategic economic development initiatives that will encourage private investment, support small business retention, expansion and recruitment, develop an apprenticeship program, bring more diverse and higher-wage jobs, and enhance quality of life.
  • Funds $4.1 million for new multi-use trails and the development of Hanover Pines Nature Park.
  • Allocates more than $10 million in new health and safety enhancements that are focused on infrastructure and technology needs, materials and tools to plan, prepare for and respond to emergencies, an Emergency Logistics Center, and 21 new county positions in Health and Human Services and the Sheriff’s Office to directly address diversity, workloads and mental health.
  • Lowers the fire services tax rate for residents in the unincorporated county to 7.25 cents and allocates $124,500 for a diversity program within Fire Rescue that focuses on increasing minority recruitment in partnership with Cape Fear Community College.
  • Keeps the landfill tip fee at $48 per ton and invests in a new Landfill entrance and customer convenience site at a cost of $2.8 million.
  • Prioritizes the county’s 1,891 employees by investing in them through fair pay and benefits.

In addition to the budget’s investments, the county will utilize additional funding through the federal American Rescue Plan to strengthen the community through broadband access, mortgage assistance, job training, sewer and water infrastructure, mental health support, affordable housing, rental assistance, business and nonprofit grants, and more. Based on rules and guidance issued by the U.S. Treasury Department, the county’s use of these funds was slightly modified from the original framework the board approved in April, and can be viewed here.

The FY 21-22 recommended budget was presented to the Board of Commissioners on May 17 and a public hearing on the budget was held Monday, June 7. Following the public hearing, the Board of Commissioners approved the recommended budget with several changes, including the addition of Parks Resource Officers, Long Leaf Park modifications, and adjustments to non-county agency and economic development funding, as well as the addition of an afterschool transportation program for New Hanover County School students through American Rescue Plan funds.

The adopted budget in brief will be available at Finance.NHCgov.com in the next week.

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**This news release has been updated to reflect an update in the total budget amount, from $457 million to $458 million, inclusive of the changes and additional funding amounts approved by Commissioners that total around $1 million.

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