This year is different than past years in a whole lot of respects, and, even halfway into the year, the unforgettable 2020 is still changing things up.

Here’s a new item for that list. In past years, local government’s across North Carolina have adopted budgets in June – prior to the midnight, June 30 deadline – for their fiscal years that start on July 1. However, given all the current economic uncertainties, some local governments in the state plan to hold off on that this year.

County, city and town budgets are planned based on the amount of revenue the local government expects to see in the coming fiscal year and, with the pandemic, social unrest and other factors, accurately predicting revenue is extremely difficult this year, if not virtually impossible. So some local governments in North Carolina are planning to hold off adopting a formal budget until later in the year.  

Guilford County officials briefly discussed the idea at a recent meeting, however, there didn’t seem to be much will to delay adopting a budget.

Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing, said he has heard that some other local governments may go down that path.

“The Piedmont Triad Regional Council did some surveys of all the cities, county’s and towns in our region, and about 10 percent said they were considering a continuing resolution – and not adopting a formal budget ordinance before July 1.”

Continuing resolutions for budgets are a temporary measure used to keep governments open with spending at the previous year’s levels until a final new budget can be approved.

Lawing said most of the larger local governments he knows about are keeping the same budget adoption schedule as in the past. He also explained why it was beneficial for Guilford County to stay on schedule.

“The problem is the tax levy – you can’t levy taxes until you know what the tax rate is going to be, and our Tax Department likes to get the tax bills out in July,” Lawing said.

“So, in order to do that,” Lawing added, “We thought it made sense to go ahead and do a budget with the best predictions we can come up with so we can get that tax levy out in July again.”

Lawing said that since, the county’s tax department handles tax collection for most of the local municipalities, he hopes they will also stay on the usual budget schedule as well.