Budget and tax rate inching up in Dare County
By SANDY SEMANS ROSS
is still a work-in-progress, but the county’s proposed budget of
$99,283.383 in the General Fund for fiscal year 2013-14 has been set
for public hearing at the Dare County Board of Commissioners’ meeting
at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 20.
The draft budget -- based on a
proposed property tax rate of 43 cents per $100 -- was presented to the
commissioners at a reconvened meeting held on Monday night and, for the
most, part drew little reaction from the board.
revaluation of property values resulted in a 29 percent decrease in the
tax base from approximately $17.7 billion down to $12.6 billion.
collect the same total amount of revenues as that from the current tax
rate of 28 cents, the revenue neutral tax rate is estimated to be 39.75
cents. The proposed tax rate is 3.25 cents higher at 43 cents. One cent
equals about $1.245 million in collected revenues.
projections set the revenue neutral rate higher, but, there have been
fewer appeals than anticipated of the new values, said County Manager
Bobby Outten while presenting the proposed budget.
Fund portion of the budget, after adjustments, is 4.29 percent more
than the current fiscal year. The total budget of $125,588,072 which
also includes all special funds such as water, sanitation, etc., is .08
percent less than current.
The goals set by the board for the
budget are to maintain the current level of services while creating no
new programs or positions. Federal and state reductions in funding
account for about $500,000 in lost revenues. Increases in costs of
existing programs are estimated at $1.6 million and includes 7.5
percent increase in health insurance.
Maintenance projects and vehicle replacements are estimated at $1.4 million.
budget proposal includes a 3 percent cost of living (COLA) raise for
county employees who have not received the increase since 2008. During
that same time period, the Consumer Price Index has escalated to 9.31
percent. In 2009, the employer’s share of the matching retirement
dropped to 1 percent and was eliminated in 2010. Longevity pay and
merit increases were reduced by half in 2009 and, in 2010, merit raises
Commissioner Bob Woodard was vocal in his
opposition to the COLA raises, stating that the employees get 11 paid
holidays and, incorrectly, that they get a day off for their birthdays.
He also said that he doesn’t see the need to give anyone more money
based on the number of years that they have been in county employ.
employees are very fortunate,” said Woodard, who added that he might
agree to giving a COLA only to those who make less than $40,000.
alleviate some of the high cost of the health insurance provided to the
employees, the following new deductible amounts are proposed: $150 for
non-generic drugs; primary co-pay from $25 to $35; specialist co-pay
from $50 to $70; in network deductible from $1,000 to $1,500; and out
of network deductible from $3,000 to $4,500.
Outten told the
board that changes are still being made to the budget, which must be
approved before the end of the current fiscal year on June 30.