Guilford County has a new budget, which will go into effect on Saturday, July 1, and control county spending through the end of June next year.
The new budget, which totals $840 million and keeps the tax rate at $73.05 cents per $100 of assessed property value, was adopted on an 8-to-1 vote, with Republican Commissioner James Upchurch the lone no vote.
The Board of Commissioners provided $15.4 million in additional money for Guilford County Schools operations over the amount Guilford County Manager Mike Halford recommended.
In the early years of this century, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners would often arrive at the meeting for the final budget and then have to haggle for hours about what would go into it and what would be cut. However, on Thursday, June 15, 2023, there was no such drama. Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston had it all tied up in a nice bow days before – and the county staff already had printed handouts ready when the vote was taken.
The board’s changes to the manager’s budget included, among many other things, adding $500,000 for Guilford Technical Community College to support that school’s operating budget.
The commissioners added some new positions to departments that need help – including five new positions for the Tax Department, which is already preparing for the next countywide tax revaluation in 2026.
The final Guilford County budget includes $255,000 in additional money for various community-based organizations and special causes. That amount includes $140,000 for the Town of Oak Ridge to repair ADA ramps and make security improvements.
The county’s 2023-2024 budget also includes $5 million for the county to cover the cost of Medicare Expansion.
The commissioners each offered commentary on the budget at the end of the public meeting and most said, in one form or another, that they were proud of the budget and also that it was a compromise because they got some of what they wanted but weren’t happy with everything in the budget.
Commissioner Pat Tilman, who voted to approve the budget, pointed out that the commissioners do not have the luxury of going line item by line item through the budget and voting yes or no on each line.