Most of the time, whenever the Guilford County Budget is adopted, there’s a lot of talk about the tax rate and the funding amounts for Guilford County Schools; however, in the hundreds of pages of the document, the budget contains a heck of a lot more than that.

As Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story…

One interesting thing is that the county budget this year is classified as a $833.7 million budget; however, that’s the general operating budget for the county. The entire budget – which, for instance, includes pass-through money such as American Rescue Plan Act money – this year surpassed $1 billion. To be exact, it came in at $1.02 billion.

The budget addresses plenty of things other than Guilford County Schools – though the school system does take up about 45 percent of the county’s general operating budget.

For instance, the new county budget – adopted unanimously by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, June 20 – includes $1.7 million for Community-Based Organizations – generally, non-profits doing good work in the county –  as well as $565,000 for area economic development organizations.

The 2024-2025 fiscal budget includes a total of 2,972 county government positions, which is a slight reduction from the 2023-2024 budget the county commissioners adopted in June of last year. This is equivalent to about 5.3 positions per 1,000 residents. That’s one of the lowest position-to-resident ratios in North Carolina. Guilford County Manager Mike Halford cites that ratio frequently as evidence that Guilford County needs more employees.

The approved budget includes nine new positions to address mandated functions and services. These additions were funded through updated revenue projections, tapping the county’s savings account, and some reductions elsewhere in the budget.

The budget also includes $360,000 for five new Adult Protective Services positions to improve the ability of Adult Protective Services to respond to instances of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The state will reimburse 50 percent of expenses.

That program does seem to be working well since money spent in this way helps reduce the number of 911 calls.  Instead of Emergency Services addressing what are really social services issues, those issues are handled by a team of social services workers at a much lesser expense.

There’s $90,000 in the new Guilford County budget for a new fire plans examiner and a vehicle for that employee to get around in. That move is largely meant to support timely inspections of school bond projects.

The new Guilford County budget for 2024-2025 provides $175,000 for a new paralegal and a new county deputy attorney to support state-mandated eCourt expansion, a move that’s meant to make the legal system more efficient and faster.

One Public Relations Department position is in the budget to, according to the county, “supplement compliance with the US Department of Justice’s April 2024 publication of its final rule on website accessibility for state and local governments under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Ten years ago, Guilford County didn’t even have a PR department, but in recent years that department has been constantly growing.

The new positions in the budget are offset by a reduction of 10 positions that were previously funded by non-county revenues and are no longer active since those funds dried up. Often, whenever outside money dries up, Guilford County government keeps the positions going and starts paying the salaries with county taxpayer money, however in the case of these ten positions that didn’t happen.

The budget includes $2 million for deputy sheriff and detention officer pay to combat high vacancy rates – but that number falls way short of what some commissioners wanted to see in the new budget and several commissioners pledged at the June 20 meeting to revisit law enforcement officer pay this summer.

There’s $2.1 million in the budget to support the county’s performance-based merit program consisting of a merit pool equivalent of 3 percent. Performance merits will be effective the first full pay period in March 2025.

Guilford County manager Mike Halford has been much better to Guilford County employees than any county manager in this century – albeit at great expense to the county’s taxpayers.  The Rhino Times hardly ever gets any complaints about Halford from county employees, whereas, for many past managers, those complaints have come in loud and clear and with great frequency.

 At the June 20 meeting when the budget was adopted several commissioners said that a series of Budget Town Halls in March was helpful since they allowed the board to hear from residents about their priorities for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

Following Halford’s presentation of his fiscal year 2024-25 proposed budget, the Board of Commissioners held several budget work sessions in May and June to get input and implement changes in Halford’s proposal.

For instance, Halford had proposed raising the adoption fee on senior cats and dogs at the animal shelter – and the commissioners unanimously rejected that because it would have probably cost the county money rather than made money, meant more animals were euthanized, meant more elderly and fixed income residents did not have companionship and meant that the animals stayed in shelter cages rather than in loving homes.

A public hearing to hear input from residents regarding the manager’s proposed budget was held on Thursday, June 6. Almost all of those 40 or so speakers spoke on the school system needing more money and the adopted the fiscal 2024-25 budget on June 20, grants those wishes to some extent.

For those interested, the entire 2024-2025 budget can be found on the Guilford County website at