Orange County Commissioners adopt FY18 Budget, hold taxes steady

ORANGE COUNTY, NC (June 20, 2017) – The Orange County Board of Commissioners adopted the 2017-18 county budget at its meeting Tuesday, opting to hold the line on property taxes while providing additional funding for the two local school systems. This is the eighth time in the past nine years the Board of Commissioners did not raise property taxes.

The Board of Commissioners adopted the "revenue neutral" tax rate of $0.8377, which means the property tax rate will be reduced by 4.03 cents from the current rate. The county revaluation resulted in a 6.5 percent increase countywide in property tax values, resulting in the lower revenue neutral rate.

The FY2017-18 Recommended Budget increases school current expense budgets by a total of $3.54 million, resulting in a total appropriation of more than $104.27 million, including debt service, for public schools. The per pupil amount increases by $123 to $3,991, which is one of the highest amounts of local funding in the state.

“This budget achieves our priority goals in education and affordable housing without placing an additional burden on property owners,” said Orange County Chair Mark Dorosin. “Orange County historically provides one of the highest per-pupil local funding rates in the state, and we are proud to increase this rate by $123 per pupil."

The budget includes additional investments in affordable housing and expands bus services within the county by adding three new routes.

The county increased funding for outside agencies by more than $200,000, with 57 agencies receiving a total of $1.35 million in funding for 2017-18. In December 2016, the Board of Commissioners adopted a funding target of 1.2 percent of general fund expenditures, less the appropriation for education expenses. The previous target had been 1.0 percent.

The budget includes several changes to the employee compensation and benefits, including a 2% across-the-board pay raise for county employees. The budget sets the minimum salary level for all regular and temporary county employees at $13.75 per hour and directs staff to implement a plan to increase the minimum pay for all permanent county employees to $15 per hour. The board adopted a six-week paid parental leave.

By the numbers

  • $219,656,033 – The General Fund budget.
  • 4.03 – Reduction in cents in recommended property tax rate after revaluation, from $0.8780 to $0.8377. This reflects the revenue neutral rate.
  • 6.5 – Percentage increase in countywide real property tax base after revaluation. The County’s overall property tax base, including motor vehicles, increased to $17.9 billion.