Guilford County’s “unappropriated fund balance” is essentially the county’s savings account, and, at a recent work session of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Guilford County Manager Mike Halford said that, as he prepares the new fiscal 2023-2024 budget, he has concerns about the declining level of those savings.

In the current fiscal year, Guilford County had to pull money out of the fund balance to pay for some expenditures, and, Halford said, he wants to be sure Guilford County has enough savings in the next budget, which is scheduled to be adopted in June of this year.

“Obviously one of the things of concern to me is that decline – what’s available for a huge true emergency without touching restricted funds,” Halford said. “So, my first sense is that we need to be aware of that decline and, in FY23 [fiscal year 2022-2023], I think we are projected to use some of our fund balance.”

“Adding to that are some concerns going into the FY [2023-2024] budget process,” Halford said.

The manager said that county officials don’t know what economic conditions will be like in late 2023 and in 2024 but added that right now the county must plan for a budget that runs all the way into the middle of next year.

He noted that there are other concerns that add to uncertainty, such as the fact that the State of North Carolina is having problems paying out sales tax money that Guilford County is due.

Guilford County Budget Director Toy Beeninga explained why having adequate savings is so vital for the county.

“We all know that fund balance is important, but just to reiterate, it ensures that the county can meet our cash obligations throughout the year,” he told the board at the work session. “It also makes sure that we have reserves available for emergencies or unforeseen events that occur during the year, so that we don’t have to impact county operations to fund those unforeseen events. It also really helps with our bond ratings.”