Stanly commissioners pass budget ordinance

Tuesday morning saw the Stanly County Board of Commissioners pass its budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

County Manager Andy Lucas presented the final ordinance to the commissioners including an increase of $155,000 from proceeds from an insurance policy on a wrecked ambulance. Those proceeds will be used to purchase vehicles requested by Stanly’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) along with an additional ambulance which should cover the department’s needs for three to five years.

The budget includes $30,000 for body cameras for sheriff’s office deputies as well as an additional $35,000 for dashboard cameras.

Included in the general fund expenses are $18 million listed for education and $17 million for human services.

The total budget for the county is $69.8 million, of which $34.5 million comes from ad valorem taxes and $12.3 million from sales tax.

Approximately $3.3 million goes to the local fire districts including $910,000 to the West Stanly Fire District. Lucas said the district had asked for an increase on property tax rates from 10 cents per $100 to 15 cents.

When asked about the response from representatives of the West Stanly Fire District, Lucas said they were “a little disappointed, but I think they understood. I think they knew going into the process of the public hearing and having their own meeting out there, they knew there was somewhat of an uphill battle” in terms of a rate increase

Lucas – said the idea of raising a tax rate was not the general sense of what the Board of Commissioners wanted for this year.

“If the economy improves next year, I fully anticipate they will be back. If they ask for five cents, let’s see where your (revaluation) comes out. The board has been somewhat willing to keep fire tax rates the same during revaluation,” Lucas said.

He added if property values increase with a revaluation, a tax increase would not be necessary.