Proposed Gates County budget increases

Published 4:16 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

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GATESVILLE – While the proposed new FY 2024-25 operating budget for Gates County local government is 6.37 percent higher than the current year, local taxpayers will not be impacted.

County Manager Scott Sauer’s budget proposal was presented on Monday evening (June 3) at a special meeting of the board of commissioners.

Total General Fund revenue for the FY 2024-2025 proposed budget is recommended at $16,938,690 which is an increase of $1,011,877 or 6.37% above the revised current year budget.

Sauer stressed that there is no increase in the Ad Valorem tax rate, which remains at 84 cents per one hundred dollar ($100) value of real and personal property.

His proposed budget does include a recommended appropriation of fund balance reserves of $792,100 and is primarily attributable to one-time capital outlay for equipment and small capital improvement projects funded in the Buildings and Grounds Department for various agencies.

General Fund expenditures for the proposed budget includes $4,857,319 for Public Safety, $3,160,000 for Education, $3,149,012 for General Government, $2,536,424 for Human Services, $1,061,255 for Transfers to Other Funds, $855,131 for Debt Service, $812,234 for Economic Development, and $507,315 for Culture and Recreation.

The majority of the revenue for the new budget will come from taxes: $8.83 million in local property tax and $3.5 million in the county’s share of the state sales tax.

Other top sources of revenue include $1.52 million in federal and state grants, $1 million in transfer funds, and $500,000 in interest.

In his budget message on Monday, Sauer said the proposal provides a guide for the board’s discussion of its fiscal priorities and program goals, as either confirmed or revised by this process, and to be carried forward by county management.

“It is important for the citizens and taxpayers of Gates County to understand that the Board of Commissioners has already outlined several foundational layers of long range planning, previously approved action items for infrastructure funding, and several organizational transitions effective for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024 and the years ahead,” Sauer stressed.

He noted that the current fiscal year has seen many organizational transitions, to include a regional partnership in Soil and Water Conservation (Gates and Hertford counties), the relocation of the Gates County Board of Elections office to newly renovated County Annex on Medical Center Road, the merger of Gates County 911 services with Perquimans County, and the transfer of the Community Center from the school system to the county.

Other transitions include key staffing changes for Gates County since July 1, 2023:

New Information Technology Director

New Human Resources Director

New Tax Administrator

New Emergency Management Director/Fire Marshall

“The proposed FY 2024-2025 budget continues the development of priorities established by the governing body and I am honored to have the continued opportunity to provide recommendations and strategies to assist the Gates County Board of Commissioners in the decision-making process,” Sauer said. “Preparing the budget documents and supporting information was and is a team effort comprised of the department heads, program directors and elected officials. I am especially grateful to the county’s administrative team – Joleatha Chestnutt, Marie Rountree, Daphne Walker, Christy Byrum and Warren Perry who have kept me on task and I want to especially thank our Finance Director, Mr. William Roberson, who is an invaluable part of our leadership team.”

At their regularly scheduled meeting on June 19, the board of commissioners has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed new budget. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the courtroom of the historic courthouse.

The commissioners are required to have a new budget in place by June 30. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

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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