The Guilford County Board of Commissioners hasn’t raised property taxes since 2012, so it was no surprise that the board adopted a hold-the-tax-rate-steady budget at its Thursday, June 18 meeting.
However, what was surprising was that the board did so on a unanimous vote with the Democrats getting along swimmingly with the Republicans at a meeting that, each year, can be one of the board’s most contentious.
Every year at this time, the budget is known informally as “the chairman’s budget” because he or she is the one with the daunting task of bringing everyone together – or, less ideally, finding at least a majority of votes to pass a county budget. So Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Phillips deserves credit this year for getting everyone on board for the budget – which involved many compromises in a year when the county’s financial future is largely unknown.
To a greater extent than any year in recent memory, the board stuck with a budget proposed by Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing. Every year, however, the commissioners put their own stamp on the budget, and, this year as well, the commissioners made several changes to the manager’s proposed budget.
The new budget keeps the county’s property tax rate at 73.05 cents per $100 of assessed property value – as the manager recommended – but it also took the following actions. It redirected $20,000 meant for the Friends of Coltrane organization to other purposes. Just days before the county budget was adopted, organizers of the Coltrane festival announced that the festival honoring the jazz legend would not be held this year due to the pandemic threat.
The new county budget also increased funds by $15,000 for East Market Street Development Corp., which will now get $50,000 from the county and it provided $20,000 to Forward High Point – a group that promotes development in downtown High Point.
It also added $15,000 to support a project that benefits youth in High Point.
Fiscal responsibility with the taxpayers’ money is a non-partisan issue, as it should be.