Everyone knows what young men think about when the weather turns warmer and spring is near, but Guilford County elected officials and administrators think about something a lot less sexy – the start of the budget process.

The commissioners will not vote on a 2024-2025 fiscal budget until June, however, putting the budget together is a long process and, at work sessions, the staff and commissioners are already discussing issues which will affect that budget.

There’s some good news for county residents. There is not likely to be a tax increase this year. In April of 2022, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston told the Rhino Times that he will not vote for a property tax hike in Guilford County in the next four years. Alston completely runs the  show when it comes to what happens with the Board of Commissioners, and that is the board that will have the ultimate say on the coming budget.

Currently, department heads are putting together their wants and needs for the next budget and they will work with County Manager Mike Halford to assemble the manager’s proposed 2024-2025 budget, which the county commissioners will change and then approve.

A lot of departmental reports and budget preparation data will be presented to the commissioners when they hold a two-day retreat next month. The Board of Commissioners 2024 Annual Retreat will be held Thursday, March 7 and Friday, March 8 at the Congdon Yards Event Center in High Point, when the board will do a deep dive into many issues affecting the upcoming budget.

In March and April, the board generally holds a series of work sessions where commissioners give Halford and budget staff some guidance.

May 15 is the statutory deadline in North Carolina for boards of education to give their budget requests to the boards of commissioners. Guilford County Schools and Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) will no doubt ask for the moon – and probably get it.  There has perhaps in the history of Guilford County never been a board of commissioners more education friendly and more generous with money when it comes to the schools.

In May, the manager presents his recommended budget to the commissioners, and the tradition is that the budget is not discussed by the board at that meeting.  They just hear and see it and then spend time thinking about it.

In June, the board will hold a public hearing to get input from county residents on the recommended budget. That meeting used to be one filled with angry school advocates pleading for more money – however, in recent years, the school advocates and school officials mostly come to say thank you.

In June, usually mid-June if there are no major disputes, the chairman finds at least six votes to get a budget passed for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

Then most of the commissioners take long summer vacations.