On Thursday, May 16, Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing presented the Guilford County Board of Commissioners with his proposed 2019-2020 budget totaling $627,418,000. The manager’s budget calls for keeping the county’s property tax rate flat at 73.05 cents per $100 of assessed property value, paying $313 million for education and education debt and also calls for increasing the expenditures on the county’s human services operations by $12 million – a 19 percent increase.
Lawing’s budget proposal will now be taken under consideration by the Board of Commissioners who will approve a final county budget in June. While the commissioners almost always make significant changes before a final budget is adopted, the budget that the manager brought to the commissioners Thursday night is extremely important since it is the “rough draft” of the final budget – and the vast majority of the final budget usually remains unchanged.
The budget that Lawing proposed includes seven new positions and calls for $31 million in spending for general government operations, which is a 5 percent increase over the current budget.
One key number that’s always an intense subject of debate in May and June is the amount of funding the county gives to Guilford County Schools. The commissioners’ second-floor meeting room in the Old Guilford County Court House was packed with school supporters Thursday night. They want to see much more funding for the schools provided in the new budget.
Lawing proposed for the county to fund $206 million for school system operations – that’s a $4 million increase over the amount in the county’s 2018-2019 budget. That would increase funding per-student slightly: from $2,563 to $2,568 per student. The Guilford County Board of Education has requested $16 million in the coming fiscal year over the funding amount in the current fiscal year.
Of the seven proposed new county positions, two are in Veteran’s Services, three are in Juvenile Detention and one would be a wellness professional to help county employees remain healthy.
The Guilford County commissioners are required by law to adopt a budget by June 30 each year and in most years they do so at their second meeting in June.