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Hertford County Commissioners approve budget

WINTON – The bottom line increased by roughly $40,000 but that didn’t change the final decision to approve Hertford County’s operating budget for FY 2020-21.

At their meeting here last week, the county’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a $26.81 million General Fund budget. That financial spreadsheet, which becomes effective today (July 1), keeps the tax rate at 84 cents per $100 of property value.

The lone increase in the new budget is the tipping fee at the landfill, which rose to $80 per ton (up from $76).

County Manager David Cotton’s budget appropriates $7.23 million for public safety. The Sheriff’s Office ($2.26 million), the Detention Center ($1.97 million) and Emergency Medical Services ($1.45 million) will receive the lion’s share of the public safety appropriations.

Human Services was budgeted $5.56 million in taxpayer money for 2020-21. Line items for the Department of Social Services will receive the majority ($3.75 million) of the Human Services budget. The Health Department’s budget for the new fiscal year totals $533,637.

Public education in the county gains $5.41 million from the General Fund. Of that amount, Hertford County Public Schools receives $4.29 million for current expenses while Roanoke-Chowan Community College gains $1.07 million.

Other departmental funding included $4.77 million for General Government (topped by $1.16 million for Public Buildings and Maintenance; $618,628 for Central Services – Information Technology); and $517,013 for Administration); and $419,319 for Economic and Physical Development.

The new budget also sets aside $1.82 million for annual debt service (existing loans on the county courthouse and administration buildings, and for renovations to County Office Building #1, as well as newly acquired debt for construction of the new Ahoskie Elementary School.

Adding in all proprietary funds such as solid waste, the two water districts, the Tunis Sewer District, over $1.22 million for Schools Capital Outlay, and funding for the rural fire districts brings the total budget to $31.4 million.

The new budget is built on numerous streams of revenue, topped by property taxes ($12.79 million), $4.79 million in sales tax, $3.3 million in restricted intergovernmental funds, and $1.31 million in vehicle taxes. It also uses $1.68 million of Fund Balance.

The commissioners held a public hearing on the proposed FY 2020-21 budget at their regularly scheduled meeting on June 15. That meeting was recessed until June 25 at which time the new budget was approved.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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