The Guilford County Board of Commissioners did some housekeeping at the board’s Thursday, May 2 meeting; most notably, the board completed the schedule of the 2024 budget calendar, setting three budget work sessions at strategic points along the way.

One key date on that calendar is Thursday, June 6, when the county, as required by law, will hold a large public hearing to let anyone who wants to to come out and tell the commissioners exactly what they think should and should not be included in the county’s fiscal 2024-2025 budget.

Guilford County Manager Mike Halford will present his recommended budget on Thursday, May 16 – one of the most important events in the budget process – and the public hearing after that is technically for residents to voice their views on that budget and what changes should be made.

By the end of the process, on June 20, when the commissioners vote on a final budget, not everyone will be happy.

While not everyone gets their way, everyone gets their say.

Halford, with a great deal of help from his Budget Department, gets to make his case.

Then, following that, the county will hold the public hearing where people come out and plead for more money for the schools, or for county funding for their non-profit organization or for more pickleball courts since the sport is exploding in popularity. Or for a hundred other things.

Then the nine commissioners get their say – the final say that actually counts.

What’s remarkable is that the public hearing is always filled with people asking for things, but it’s very rare that someone comes and asks the county for the following: a tax cut.

That may change this year since inflation is very high and county residents are paying much more in property taxes since the 2022 countywide revaluation was conducted at a time when housing and building prices were skyrocketing.

That equated to a 14-cent tax hike (by far the biggest increase in this century and perhaps the biggest one ever) since the Democratic-run board did not adjust the tax rate to a “revenue neutral” status after the property was revalued.

When the previous revaluation was performed and a Republican-run board ruled the county, that board lowered the tax rate proportionately so that property owners’ tax bills remained the same as in the previous year despite an increase in property values.

After the 2022 countywide property revaluation, the Democratic board just essentially grabbed the “hidden” tax increase and said, “Great, that’s an extra $92 million we can spend every year.”