Every June, the most important day of the year arrives for the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

This year, it falls on Thursday, June 15.

That’s the day that, if all goes according to plan, the county commissioners will adopt a budget for fiscal 2023-2024 that will direct taxpayer dollars – and dollars from other revenue sources – to various county projects, salaries, expenses and services for the coming 12 months.

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, who’s in charge of finding at least five votes to pass a budget, said recently that he wants to get a lot more than five votes.  He said it’s always a good thing when the board can show unity – however, he knows from his three decades of experience in Guilford County politics that it’s not always possible to get everyone on the board on board.

The budget almost always gets some last-minute changes that pull straggling commissioners into the yes column, but it looks like a unanimous approval for the budget will be difficult this year.

Republican Commissioner James Upchurch has been critical of the immense spending contained in the expected new budget.

“I’m likely not voting for this budget,” Upchurch said, adding “unless there is a tax rate decrease.”

A tax decease on this board led by these six Democrats is all but unimaginable.  The board funds practically every idea presented by county staff, so the commissioners need to keep the property tax revenue coming fast.

Alston has already told Guilford County Schools officials that the school system will get more money this year than in the 2022-2023 budget, but he told the Rhino Times that it’s been difficult finding the additional money for the schools.

Halford’s budget proposal recommended giving the school system the same amount of money for operations that the system got in the previous county budget, so Halford didn’t have to worry about finding additional funding for the schools.

Alston said that funding additional millions for Guilford County schools would mean cutting something out of the proposed budget – or, he added, the board would have to dip further into the county’s savings account.

“You don’t want to use one-time funds for recurring costs,” Alston said, though he acknowledged that could happen this year.