On Thursday, June 17, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a budget that will direct how taxpayer dollars are spent from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
The new budget, which keeps the county’s property tax rate even at 0.7305 cents per $100 of assessed property value, was agreed to by the board’s seven Democratic commissioners and two Republicans.
Guilford County Schools officials were asking for the moon this year and, while they didn’t get everything they wanted, they should be happy with the stratospheric amount of county funding included the new budget. School advocates worked hard before the 2021 November election to get a Democratic majority on the board that would be friendly to the schools – and the new fiscal 2021-2022 budget includes nearly $230 million for school operating and capital needs.
Guilford County Manager Mike Halford’s recommended budget presented in May had included $13.4 million in additional school funding this year – the biggest increase in two decades – and the Board of Commissioners final budget tacked an extra $3.5 million onto that number before the budget passed. The additional allocation was meant to increase teacher pay, increase teacher supplements and allow for a minimum wage of $15 per hour for school cafeteria workers.
Before the commissioners adopted the final budget they made other changes as well such as adding money for the county’s two Family Justice Centers and adding just over $1 million for 15 new school nurse positions. The commissioners also added nearly a half-million dollars more than the manager’s budget did for fighting infant mortality. The final 2021-2022 budget includes $800,000 for that purpose.
The board’s two Republican commissioners – Justin Conrad and Alan Perdue – both voted for the new budget, however, both men stated at the meeting that any county budget includes some things they agree with and some they do not. They each said the budget being adopted that night included enough positives to outweigh the negatives and therefore win their vote.