In an election year, Chatham County proposes no 2020-21 tax rate increase

Pittsboro, NC – On May 4, 2020, Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne presented the proposed county budget for fiscal year 2020-21. Typically, the county budget presentation is made before the Chatham County Board of Commissioners. However, due to mass gathering limitations as a result of Governor Cooper’s stay at home Executive Order extended until May 8th, the proposed budget was presented through an online presentation.

The proposed budget provides $132.3 million for the general fund, and the proposed tax rate remains steady at 67 cents (or $0.67) per $100 valuation.

“The budget reflects difficult choices, as we had to develop this during a time of such uncertainty in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne. “In the face of many unknowns, we had to focus on what we do know, project our revenue cautiously and make careful choices about the services we can provide.”

FY21 Budget Highlights

Debt Reserve

·         The budget continues the 9.2 cent contribution to the debt reserve

·         Borrowing is in progress for the public safety radio upgrade project

Chatham County Schools

·         Additional $2,230,000

·         $1,261,889 to the general allocation to support the opening of Chatham Grove Elementary School

·         $968,111 to maintain the teacher supplement at the current level

Positions Added

Six additional positions are recommended to meet the current rising workload demand and the continued demand expected by the current crisis.

·         Two detention officers  ($106,013)

o   One begins July, one October

·         Three social workers, 50% reimbursement ($74,313)

o   Two begin October, one January

·         One licensed substance abuse counselor ($34,211)

o   Begin January

“We are forecasting into a very uncertain economic future, and we do not know when the economy will recover from this pandemic induced recession or what that recovery will look like,” added LaMontagne. “We also don’t know if there will be a resurgence of the virus next year and what that will mean to the struggling economy. We have no comparison for this type of situation to fall back on. We do know that in the past, Chatham County and the Triangle Region have fared better than other regions of the state in economic recovery and this gives us reason for hope.”

FY21 Budget Process

Residents are invited to provide comments on the proposed budget during a public hearing scheduled for May 18, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center, 1192 US 64 Business West, Pittsboro. More details about the May 18th meeting will be posted on the County website the week of May 11th.

           The Board of Commissioners will hold budget work sessions on May 21st, 22nd, and possibly May 28th (not May 30th as referenced in the online presentation). The goal is to have the budget finalized on June 15th, and state law requires adoption by June 30th.

View the FY21 proposed budget on the county website.

Background photo created by freepik –