WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

County to consider $96.9M budget with no tax hike

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Wilson County Manager Denise Stinagle presented commissioners on Monday with a proposed 2018-19 budget that includes capital improvements to public schools, the community college and the county courthouse.

The current property tax rate of 73 cents per $100 in property valuation is unchanged in the manager’s recommended budget.

“This represents the 11th year that the tax rate has not increased ...,” Stinagle told commissioners.

The proposed budget totals roughly $96.9 million compared to about $105.1 million from the current amended budget — an 8 percent decrease.

Her budget also recommends a fund balance allocation of 16.87 percent.

“Our strong history for supporting education, investing in our local economy and commitment to economic development reflects our appreciation for our quality of life,” Stinagle told commissioners. “This budget supports these areas while applying sound financial principles.”

She also said her proposed budget was created based on best estimates regarding current and future revenues, North Carolina legislative actions and department leaders’ feedback relating to needs and service requirements.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

Stinagle said county officials have worked for several years in systematically scheduling capital building needs for roofs, necessary equipment, courthouse improvements and public school needs.

“Room in our debt capacity allowed us to support sheriff radios and upgrades to school facilities,” she said.

This year’s proposed budget continues those goals, which would include replacing courthouse windows at $110,000 and replacing the roof on the Goldsboro Street office building at $235,000.

RAISES AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Stinagle said county employees are the center of Wilson County government’s service delivery.

“Without them, we have no services, no expertise and no skills,” she said. Her proposed budget reflects “modest” raises for employees as well as raises for deputies and detectives.

She said Wilson County government staff and commissioners share a passion for people and that they are known for their partnerships. She said the proposed budget supports nonprofits and appropriates additional funding for economic development and support to the city of Wilson’s Innovation Hub, which would include roughly $167,000.

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

• Replacement of two ambulances at roughly $426,000.

• Eight replacement vehicles for the sheriff’s office at roughly $251,000.

• Wilson County Schools allocation of roughly $21 million, a 3 percent increase.

• Full funding requested by Wilson Community College at roughly $2.3 million, which will include $378,000 for capital improvements.

• Intergovernmental revenue reflects a 25 percent decrease primarily from the Department of Social Services day care and Medicaid transports being paid directly by the state.

• The budget includes revenue attributed to the sale of the county’s home health agency at $1 million with a “commitment that future dollars will be utilized specifically for citizen health services.”

A LOOK BACK

Last year, commissioners asked Stinagle to save a half-percent from the current budget. She said she was proud to report that county departments and staff were able to attain that goal.

The county also financed $6 million for Wilson County Schools capital improvements and financed and obtained grants for the sheriff’s office radio upgrade project, which totaled $1,051,908. She said that upgrade will enhance deputies’ communication efforts and increase the county’s public safety net.

Commissioners will reconvene at 7 p.m. Monday, May 21 at the Miller Road building to go through proposed budget line by line. The steps in the process allow for revisions and adjustments to the budget before commissioners take a final vote after a public hearing.

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