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Stanly proposed budget maintains tax rate at 67 cents

For the 14th consecutive year, Stanly County residents will not see a tax increase if the proposed county budget passes.

The Stanly County 2020-2021 proposed annual budget, which was presented to the county commissioners recently by County Manager Andy Lucas, recommends the property tax rate remain at 67 cents per $100 valuation.

Though the revenue picture moving into fiscal year 2020-2021 is unclear due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Lucas wrote in his budget letter that “fortunately, the County has healthy financial reserves that can mitigate any lost revenue or unanticipated expenses over the next several months.”

The total proposed budget is at $69.6 million, an increase of 1.3 percent compared to last fiscal year’s adopted budget.

Though the different departments collectively requested a budget of almost $77 million, Lucas said the property tax rate would have to increase almost 15 cents for the requested budget to be possible.

The county’s assessed value is $5.11 billion, which Lucas said is an increase of about 3 percent, or $150 million, compared to last year.

Stanly County Schools received a total of $16.2 million, which is less than the $20.5 million the school system requested, but roughly the same amount as recommended in last year’s budget.

The total capital outlay for SCS is $2.945 million.

While he would have liked more, Superintendent Dr. Jeff James said that “if that’s all we can get, we will make it work.”

The per pupil county dollar funding rate for fiscal year 2020-2021 is $1,488, an increase of $32.

The additional quarter cent sales tax is projected to generate $1.17 million in the fiscal year 2020-2021.

Including Stanly Community College, $18.4 million was proposed for education services, accounting for 26.4 percent of the total budget. The county is funding roughly $17.7 million of the total.

Besides education, the other major expenditures include public safety, which received $17.8 million, and health and human services, which received $17.2 million.

Education services, health and human services and public safety accounted for about $53.4 million, or 76.6 percent of the total budget.

The bulk of general fund revenue is composed of ad valorem taxes, which accounts for 49.6 percent (33.4 million), and sales tax, which accounts for 18 percent (11.3 million).

With the property tax rate proposed to remain at 67 cents, the average household pays almost $1,211 a year, or $101 a month. Of the monthly $101, $31.52 goes to SCS, $15.20 to public safety and $10.15 to emergency services.

The proposed budget also has a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for county employees effective July 1.

There are 26 capital improvement projects, at a total projected cost of $435,316, recommended, including $204,450 to replace three high roof SCUSA vans, $61,000 to purchase a new emergency management truck and $25,000 to replace 30-year-old marquee sign at Agri-Civic Center. In addition, $486,200 has already been financed for fiscal year 20-21 to replace two ambulances and $304,600 to replace seven patrol vehicles and one Dodge Ram truck.

Two major projects for the upcoming fiscal year are building the Stanly Community College Trades Facility, which will cost an estimated $7.5 million, and renovating West Stanly Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will cost an estimated $4 million.

There will be a public hearing for the proposed budget at 6 p.m. June 8.

The budget is available online, at local libraries and at the county office.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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