The Wayne County fiscal 2023-24 budget proposes to hold the line on property taxes while boosting pay for county staff.
Chip Crumpler, Wayne County manager, presented the proposed $252.96 million budget to the commissioners Tuesday that is now available for public review. The budget reflects an increase of more than $28.7 million from the current fiscal 2022-23 budget of $224.2 million.
The budget holds the line on property taxes that are recommended to remain at 74 cents per $100 in property valuation.
A public hearing on the proposed budget will be on June 6 at 9:30 a.m. in the commissioners meeting room at the Wayne County Courthouse Annex at 224 E. Walnut St. The commissioners plan to vote on the budget on June 30, prior to the budget going into effect on July 1.
General funds represent 87% of the proposed budget at $220.4 million, and $4 million will be used from the general fund unassigned fund balance to balance the proposed budget, Crumpler said.
The budget includes a 2% cost-of-living pay increase for two-thirds of the county’s departmental workforce, he said. Other salary increases that were approved following a salary study are also included in the budget.
All salary increases included in the budget are nearly $2.85 million, including $960,219 in cost-of-living increases.
Local Government Retirement Employer contributions will increase from 12.16% to 12.91%, as required by the N.C. Local Government Retirement System.
The budget includes a 4% increase in sewer fees due to an expected 4% increase in rates from the city of Goldsboro.
Sewer fees for customers outside of the county are proposed to increase from $16.20 to $16.84 per 1,000 gallons. Sewer fees for customers inside the county are proposed to increase from $8.58 to $8.92 per 1,000 gallons.
Fire tax increases were requested by two districts and are included in the budget proposal. The Oakland Volunteer Fire Department is recommended to increase its fire tax from 6.31 cents to 7 cents per $100 in property valuation. The Dudley Volunteer Fire Department is proposed to increase its fire tax from 6.26 cents to 8 cents per $100 in property valuation.
The county budget includes an operating budget increase of $448,167 for Wayne County Public Schools and a $100,160 increase in the School Resource Officer budget, which covers costs not funded through state grant funds.
The 2023-24 proposed budget also increases the WCPS Small Works Capital by $407,319 for fiscal years 2022, 2023 and 2024.
The county budget includes funding for capital improvement projects. About $1.05 million in American Rescue Plan funds and $1.96 million in unassigned fund balance will be used for capital projects in the 2023-24 fiscal year.
The budget includes adding nine full-time employees and other part-time positions. Positions will be added in several county departments, including several in human resources and three with the Department of Social Services to manage needs from the expansion of the Medicaid program.
The budget includes other fee increases in planning, soil and water services and in solid waste tipping fees.
Debt service for the county will increase in the budget by $8.36 million for costs associated with the first set of debt payments for the Fremont elementary school, the new jail addition and the DSS and Health Department building.
The commissioners originally planned to meet for budget work sessions May 17 through May 19 but the meetings were canceled. The meetings have not yet been rescheduled.
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