You have your own debt and you most likely know how much that is, but, as a resident of Guilford County, you have the burden of carrying the county’s debt as well, and you likely don’t know your share.

If you follow Guilford County government news, however, you probably know that the county’s debt is about to go up and up.

The problem with borrowing $2 billion in school bonds is that the money has to be paid back with interest – on top of all the other debt the county was previously carrying.

Currently, the debt per capita, or debt per person in Guilford County, is roughly $1,300 for the county’s existing debt. That number is about to spike in a big way according to county estimates – hitting $3,500 in 2029 before starting to come back down again.  According to current projections, the debt the county is taking on will be paid off completely in the year 2047, which would mean zero dollars debt per county resident that year.

Of course, all that assumes that the county doesn’t take on any more debt between now and then.  Guilford County commissioners have a tricky habit, when the county needs money, of using “two-thirds bonds.”  In years after the county has paid off voter approved bond debt, the county can turn around and borrow up to two-thirds of the amount paid off – without any input from voters.

The county commissioners have used two-thirds bonds quite often this century for projects and they will be tempted to do so in the future as well.

With no new bonds approved by voters or two-thirds bonds issued, in 2025, the projected debt per capita goes to just over $2,000, falls slightly in the following year and then jumps to nearly $3,000 per person in 2027.  It falls in 2028 before peaking in 2029 at $3,500.