Each May, the Guilford County manager brings his or her recommended budget to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.
On Thursday, May 20, new Guilford County Manager Mike Halford brought his first budget as manager to the board. That budget calls for the county to keep the current property tax rate at 73.05 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
The recommended budget is the “rough draft” each year that forms the basis for how the county spends money for the fiscal year – in this case fiscal year 2021-2022 which runs from July 1 to June 30. The Board of Commissioners always makes some changes before adopting a final budget in June. However, each year, the vast majority of the recommended budget remains unchanged before adoption.
The manager’s budget totals $671 million. That’s a $37 million increase over the 2020-2021 budget, or an increase in spending of just under 6 percent.
The budget that Halford proposed Thursday adds 20 new positions to the county’s payroll. Halford told the board that those positions were added to help advance priorities that the board had emphasized at the commissioners retreat earlier this year and in other discussions.
Halford also said the financial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic had not been as bad on the county as county officials anticipated early last year.
In the proposed county budget, $401 million comes from property taxes, which accounts for 60 percent of the money the county has to spend in the coming 12 months.
About 15 percent of the proposed budget – right at $100 million – comes from sales taxes. The county never knows exactly how much sales tax it will collect in the coming fiscal year, so budget and tax officials estimate that amount and they are always very conservative in that estimate so that, if there is a surprise in the new fiscal year, it will be a good surprise and not a bad one.