The Orange County Board of Commissioners adopted its 2021-22 budget during its final meeting of the 2020-21 fiscal year Tuesday. The approved $240.7 million budget includes a tax rate of 81.87 cents, a drop of almost five cents from last year’s pre-revaluation rate (86.79), but three cents higher than the revenue neutral rate of 78.87 cents.
Most county departments were subjected to a five percent reduction to cover potential revenue shortfalls or unbudgeted expenses related to the ongoing pandemic. Departments providing public safety services, such as Health and Emergency Services, were exempt from the reduction. This resulted in approximately half a million dollars in savings.
The budget maintained the per pupil allocation of $4,367 to Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools. Both school systems traditionally rank in the top three in North Carolina in local funding. The budget included $89.4 million in current expense funding for the two districts and $23.7 million in capital funding.
The budget did not include a cost-of-living increase for county employees for the second straight year, but funds were included to reinstate Merit Pay awards for employees.
In addition to approving the budget, the board adopted its five-year Capital Investment Plan and an interim spending plan for the county’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act funding.
The board also bade farewell to commissioner Mark Dorosin, who had announced earlier he will resign his seat July 31. He has taken a teaching job at Florida A&M University College of Law.
The commissioners decided on the process to name his replacement. The board will solicit applications from interested parties through the Clerk to the Board. An application will be made available to the public and posted on the county website in late June, with a deadline of 5 p.m. July 19.
The applications will be forwarded to the Orange County Democratic Party, which will nominate up to three individuals for consideration by Aug. 16.
The Board of Commissioners will vote by ballot at its Sept. 2 meeting to choose Dorosin’s replacement. They can choose from among the nominees submitted by the Democratic party or choose someone else. The person chosen by the board must reside in District 1 and be of the same political party as Dorosin (Democrat).
Dorosin was elected to a four-year term in November 2020, but the replacement will only serve through Dec. 1, 2022. Voters will choose someone to fill the remaining two years of Dorosin’s term during the 2022 election cycle.
Candidate filing for the Nov. 8, 2022, General Election begins Dec. 6, 2021, at noon and ends at noon Dec. 17, 2021.
Should more than one candidate of the same political party file for the District 1 unexpired term seat, a Primary Election will be held March 8, 2022.