• 68°

Northampton County approves budget for FY 2021-22

JACKSON – “I believe the budget is a good budget for our county,” said Northampton County Board of Commissioners Chair Charles Tyner at their regular meeting here on June 21.

Tyner, who is also currently serving as the Interim County Manager, thanked the staff involved in putting the budget together, and also thanked county citizens for their support, especially by shopping with local small businesses to bring more revenue to Northampton County.

The budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 (FY22) includes, like the previous few years, another half cent decrease in ad valorem taxes. This means the rate for FY22 will be $0.905 per $100 of property value.

The county will operate on a total budget of $36,688,700, which is an increase of over $2.5 million from fiscal year FY21. A total of $29.8 million of that money will be in the General Fund budget.

Despite the half-cent tax reduction, a majority of the county’s revenues are still expected to come from ad valorem taxes. That amount is projected to total $21.4 million for FY22, more than the previous year’s total.

Other major sources of revenue include Sales Tax ($2.6 million), Sales & Services ($1.6 million), and Health Revenues ($950,501). Compared to FY21, both Sales Tax and Sales & Services are projected to be lower this year, while Health Revenues should see a slight increase.

For expenditures, the departments which will receive the largest allocations include Public Safety, General Government, Education, Human Services (Health), Other Human Services, and Economic/Physical Development.

With an increase of about $92,000 from FY21, Public Safety will receive the most funding at $11,019,747. The largest portions of these funds will go towards ambulance service ($3.7 million), sheriff ($3.3 million), jail ($1.8 million), and emergency communications ($1.06 million).

Public Safety allocations also include items such as contributions to local rescue squads and funding for the regional airports and CPTA.

General Government also received a slight increase this year, bringing their total allocation to $4,681,873. The areas which will be allocated the biggest portion of those funds include buildings & grounds ($1 million), finance ($720,121), and tax ($590,683). The latter two allocations are slightly higher than what they received in FY21, while the building & grounds allocation is a small decrease.

Education funding saw a $368,949 increase for FY22, totaling $4,405,949. Most of that money will go towards Northampton County Schools for Current Expense ($3.7 million) and Capital Outlay ($453,000).

Halifax Community College and Roanoke Chowan Community College, which both serve students in Northampton County, will receive allocations of $97,000 and $25,949, respectively.

Human Services (Health) will receive almost $297,000 more in funding compared to the previous year, bringing their total allocation to $3,719,062. Home health ($1.04 million), health ($862,298), environmental health ($306,994), family planning ($287,391), and school nurse funding ($150,000) are the areas which will receive the most funding. These were the top funded areas last year as well.

Other Human Services was allocated $2,221,206 for FY22, an increase of more than $539,000 compared to the previous fiscal year. The county’s Department of Social Services will receive the bulk of that funding.

Like the other categories, Economic/Physical Development will also receive an increase in funding this fiscal year, with a total allocation of $1,608,897. This amount is over $555,000 more than FY21.

Similar to FY21, there will be no cost of living adjustment again for employees in FY22, but merit pay and longevity pay will continue to be fully funded, and there will be a one-time two percent bonus given to employees.

Tyner explained that they decided on the bonus since they didn’t have the results of a recent pay scale study back in time to implement for FY22. The commissioners plan to look at the options presented in the study and make arrangements to begin applying them in FY23.

A public hearing was held on June 3 to allow citizens to submit any comments on the budget proposal, but no one chose to speak on the subject.

The commissioners themselves did not have any comments to make on the new budget at Monday’s meeting. It passed easily with a unanimous vote after Commissioner Geneva Faulkner motioned and Commissioner Kelvin Edwards seconded.

The new budget will go into effect on July 1.