Guilford County property owners, who will see much higher tax bills this year, may not agree with everything the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has done in the last 12 months.
But there’s one thing that’s unquestionable: The commissioners met every major goal they set for themselves at the start of the fiscal year.
Just over 12 months ago, at a Board of Commissioners annual retreat, the board adopted a list of “2021-2022 Budget Priorities,” and, looking at the list now at the end of the year shows that, without a doubt, they got it all done.
Here’s a list of the priorities and the progress that the board made in meeting those goals.
The first and highest priority was “School Bonds.” Specifically, “Move forward with the $300 million in bonds … and plan for future school bond referendum.” The board not only began raising money for the schools from the first $300 million bond, but they also put a new $1.7 billion school bond on the May 2022 ballot and helped to get it passed.
Another goal was to improve county government’s communication with the public. To that end, the county set up a website for people to submit public records requests, hired a new public relations officer, and began sending out more press releases.
A goal set early last year was to ensure county staff has the resources it needs, reduce workloads, and make county employee pay more competitive with other local governments. The new 2022-2023 budget just adopted does all that in spades. It adds over 50 positions, increases retirement benefits, and funds across the board raises as well as establishes merit raises and longevity raises.
The two remaining priorities were to “deepen the counties relationship with the towns and cities in the counties” and to increase school nursing services in Guilford County schools.
Over the past 12 months, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston has been pushing his “One Guilford” theme and has held meetings with mayors and other leaders of county towns and cities.
Also, year after year, the commissioners have been gradually adding school nurses, however, there still isn’t one nurse for every school as some would like to see.