Chatham County commissioners approve FY 2021 county budget

Pittsboro, NC – On June 15, 2020, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners approved the county budget for fiscal year 2020-21, which included one revision to the budget proposed by the County Manager’s Office. The 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.

photo by Sharon McCutcheon

“The county’s budget team was faced with a challenge unlike any other to completely reevaluate the budget in a short time frame with uncertain guidance on revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chair Karen Howard. “The approved budget is a reflection of the staff’s great work to maintain our fiscal integrity and retain the county’s talented staff. We feel it strikes the right balance to spend cautiously while focusing on priorities such as schools and adding key positions in the Sheriff’s Office and Social Services.”

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 includes the following:

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

o   $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 begins October

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

o   Two begin October, one begins January

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

o   Begins January

The Moncure Fire Department requested a $0.02 fire district tax increase from $0.125 to $0.145 per $100 valuation. The requested increase was not recommended in the initial proposed budget as presented in May. The budget reflects an increase to the Moncure fire district tax of $.0125. This will establish the fire district tax rate at $0.1375 per $100 valuation.

Due to spending limitations, the FY21 budget does not include raises for county employees. However, to show appreciation for staff, the Board of Commissioners approved additional vacation for employees. Those who are full-time county employees effective July 1, 2020, will receive 16 additional vacation hours. Part-time employees will receive a pro-rated portion based on their percent of time.

“We understand that this does not take the place of a pay increase, but the Board wanted to make this gesture in appreciation for the excellent work each of our dedicated staff does for the residents of Chatham County,” said Howard. “We are grateful for all the work they do and their commitment to making Chatham County the best in North Carolina.”

To view the Chatham County budget ordinance for FY2020-21, visit the county website. The full approved version will be posted in a few weeks.