The Dare County Board of Commissioners
adopted its budget for fiscal year 2018 that will maintain county
services and address needs that are long overdue.
The General Fund budget for next year
is 6.28% ($6,537,761) more than the current year budget. Most
of this increase (79%) is because of 7 pressing items, several of
which have been deferred for many years. Driving this increase are
expenditures for public safety, schools, county employees, and
preserving access through our inlets.
In order to maintain the current level
of county services and address these long postponed items, the
property tax rate will increase from $0.43 to $0.47 per $100 of
valuation. Applying the tax rate to a property valued at $250,000
will amount to an additional $100 for the year.
This is the first tax increase,
exclusive of revaluation, in seven years.
Per a Dare County press release, since
the recession of 2008, the county has been frugal in the provision of
its services, with operating costs, exclusive of schools and mandated
expenses, actually decreasing by 0.33% in 2017. Dare County has
maintained its services and paid for its schools without an increase
in taxes since 2011. In doing so, the county did not address
increased call volumes for EMS, did not keep employee salaries market
competitive, did not address the need for an E911/EOC facility,
postponed repairs to infrastructure, and postponed necessary vehicle
These public and staff safety concerns
and longstanding salary issues, together with school funding and
inlet maintenance were needed and could not be postponed further,
reads the press release. In presenting the budget, County Manager
Robert Outten noted that, “Without these items the rest of the
budget increased by only 1.33% or $1,384,418, which is substantially
less than the cost of living index of 2.8%.”
Chairman Woodard said, “For months we
carefully looked at every budget line item in a series of public
sessions and did everything we possibly could to avoid a tax
increase. However, it had to be done at this time in order to
maintain county services and properly provide for emergency services
and fund schools for our children.” Woodard added, “The
Dare County Board of Commissioners is committed to sound financial
management and will continue to be frugal with every taxpayer
After four budget workshops, which were
open to the public, the Board unanimously agreed to cut various
departmental requests. Further, the Board prioritized
maintaining current service levels, addressing public and staff
safety needs, maintaining school funding, addressing long standing
salary issues, and maintaining our inlets. These critical
issues, totaling over $5.1 million, are addressed in the budget as
$1,599,552 for additional EMS
resources to meet the increasing demand for Emergency Medical
$372,549 for the Regional
E911/Emergency Operations Center, which was built with a $7,000,000
grant from the State.
$678,653 additional for Dare
County Schools under the school funding formula.
$1,707,515 to implement the
results of a salary study that compensates county employees based on
marketplace comparisons. This is the first salary study that
has been done since 2005.
$391,440 merit pay allocation as
recommended in the salary study.
$164,552 mandated increase in
retiree supplemental health costs.
The total budget for the next fiscal
year is $158,147,931 and consists of 11 different funds. The
largest portion of the total budget is the General Fund, which
represents $110,698,050 for fiscal year 2018. The entire Dare County
budget for fiscal year 2018 and 2019 is available on the Dare County