Two minutes isn’t a lot of time to make your points, but effective speakers have shown over the years that, if you have your speech prepared, and you deliver it well, you just might have an impact on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the upcoming fiscal 2024-2025 county budget, which will be adopted later this month and go into effect on Monday, July 1.

Guilford County Manager Mike Halford has proposed his budget – it is posted online for anyone to see – and on Thursday, June 6, not long into the Guilford County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, you’ll have your right, granted by state law, to speak for two minutes to let your commissioners know what you think about the proposed budget.

The meeting will take place in the large second-floor commissioners’ meeting room of the Old Guilford County Court House. These budget public hearing meetings can sometimes run late into the night because some years there are a lot of speakers and the public hearing will remain open until every speaker has had the opportunity to make their points.

There have already been a lot of public complaints about the proposed budget – which will be altered somewhat by the commissioners before a final budget is approved.  The Board of Commissioners has scheduled two work sessions this month to mull over decisions and there will also no doubt be a lot of behind the scenes horse trading among commissioners so that each gets what he or she wants in the final budget.

School officials are irate that the manager’s budget doesn’t provide anywhere near the amount of money for school operations that school officials requested.

Others don’t like the nearly half a million dollars worth of fee increases the budget calls for. Those increases cover everything from inspection fees, to pickleball court use to pet adoption fees – which county animal lovers see as another barrier to pet adoption.

A lot of people don’t like the fact that there is no tax decrease in the budget even though Guilford County is getting $92 million extra each and every year due to the fact that property in the county was revalued at a time when housing prices were sky-high. The Board of Commissioners did not adjust the tax rate downward to compensate for the massively increased property values. That meant there was a giant “hidden” tax increase of 14 cents per $100 of assessed tax value – though, in truth, it wasn’t really well hidden since people saw their property tax bills increase by 20 percent or more.