The New Year – 2022 for those keeping count – is just a few days away and most people are forming their New Year’s resolutions in regard to the things they want to change and goals they want to accomplish in the coming 12 months.
Well, the members of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners are no exception, and, based on statements and actions taken by the board at the end of 2021, the commissioners are making it pretty clear to citizens where the board – led by Democratic Chairman Skip Alston – will focus its attention in the coming New Year…
- The Guilford County Board of Commissioners resolves to finally address projects it’s put off for years. Guilford County has finished up some very costly projects in 2021 – including a new mental health center, new animal shelter and a new Emergency Services maintenance center. But there are other projects that have fallen by the wayside. There are leaky roofs, needed parking lot repairs, and security issues in county buildings that need to be addressed.
One huge project that’s been put off for years is the new administrative headquarters for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department. Based on board activity at the end of 2021, the commissioners are intent to finally move the project along in 2022.
- The commissioners resolve to make good use of the flood of federal dollars coming to the county for COVID-19 relief, infrastructure and economic stimulus. The federal money pouring into Guilford County is a lot like a foreign language skill – if you don’t use it, you lose it. Much of that funding comes with strict deadlines and, if Guilford County doesn’t spend it by the attached deadline, the money goes right back to the federal government.
- The board resolves to collect more tax dollars without raising the tax rate – $56 million to be exact. In June of 2022, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston and the Democratic-led board are unlikely to raise the property tax rate. But have no doubt about it, the board will be taking in a lot more money from county property owners. In 2022, homes and businesses in Guilford County will be sporting new values on the county’s tax rolls – in almost all cases, that will be a higher value. Given the large jump in housing values in recent years the ‘reval” will result in an estimated $56 million extra for the board. The former Republican board lowered the tax rate after a revaluation five years ago in order not to create a hidden tax increase. Don’t count on that happening in 2022.
- The Guilford County Board of Commissioners, in the New Year, resolves to raise a massive amount of money for Guilford County Schools. The Democratic-led board is chaired by Alston, a huge advocate for the schools, and the board includes a teacher as well as a former school board member. The county commissioners will be pushing hard to convince voters to pass a $1.7 billion school bond that will be on the ballot in the spring.
- The board resolves to raise your sales taxes to pay for new schools and school repairs. While the county’s property tax rate is likely to stay the same, the board has placed a sales tax hike on the 2022 primary ballot – a request for permission from the voters to raise sales taxes in the county by one-quarter of a cent to help fund the massive school bond, should it pass.
Guilford County has tried multiple times before to get voters to approve a sales tax increase. That’s proven to be a huge challenge but the board is resolving that 2022 be the year that gets done.