Unlike the real year, which runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, Guilford County’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, which means that Dec. 31 is the halfway mark.

The Guilford County Budget Department has prepared a report for the county commissioners on the state of the county’s finances after the second half of 2023, which is the first half of fiscal year 2023-2024 – and things seem to be going fairly well.

That’s important because, every June, when the Guilford County commissioners adopt a budget, they do so without knowing exactly how much money will come in, nor do they know for sure what everything is going to cost or what surprises will come up. However, at the halfway point of the fiscal year, county officials can get a good sense of whether budget predictions were on target.

According to the Budget Department’s report, based on what’s been happening so far, the amount of property tax the county collects is expected to come in higher than the 2023-2024 budget projected.  That’s “due to billed assessed value exceeding budgeted assessed values.”

One negative is that the Tax Department’s collection rate is trending “slightly behind” what it was last year, which means the county may leave more money on the table than it has in the past.  Tax collection rates for Guilford County are always high – over 99 percent – however, even a fall of a fraction of a percent in the collection rate can result in millions in lost revenue for the county.

The budget report also states that sales tax revenue is expected to be in line with budget estimates.

The county’s personnel expenses are coming in above that of fiscal 2022-2023 at that fiscal year’s halfway mark, due to a decrease in vacant positions. Department directors don’t like vacancies but those empty office chairs can save the county a significant amount of money each year.

Also, this fiscal year, the county’s expenses for employee overtime are running higher than in the previous fiscal year.

Education advocates will be glad to know that the report states the county will be able to pay its planned obligations to Guilford County Schools and Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) as well as meet debt requirements related to the school system.

The county fund balance is essentially it’s savings account, and the report notes, “At this time, the County is not projected to fully recover appropriated fund balance. In prior years, the County was able to minimize utilization of fund balance due to unprecedented sales tax growth and a high number of vacant positions.”