Chatham County commissioners approve fiscal year 2022 county budget

Pittsboro, NC – On June 21, 2021, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners approved the county budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which includes slight revisions to the budget proposed by the County Manager’s Office. The budget is based on an adjusted tax rate of 66.5 cents, down 1/2 cent, and maintains the county’s focus on school priorities and preparations for growth.

Seaforth High School (photo by Gene Galin)

“For several years, we have discussed the need to be properly prepared for the anticipated growth in Chatham County, and we are now at the point that the rapid growth and development we have long expected is happening,” said Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne. “Throughout this budget, you will see that we are focused on ensuring that the development that is occurring is well monitored and aligns with the long-term vision that Plan Chatham has laid out for Chatham County.”

FY22 Budget Revisions

  • Increase Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) occupancy tax revenue by $2,613 to balance the department’s budget. The department is funded wholly by occupancy tax dollars.
  • Decrease grants/donations expenditures in the Library Department by $99,105. These grants/donations have not been confirmed, and as policy the county does not budget grant/donation funds that it has not received confirmation of receipt.
  • Decrease fund balance appropriation by $101,718 to balance the general fund budget as required by state statute.
  • Correct non-substantive typographical errors.
  • Inclusion of an additional allowance in Section 6 of the proposed Budget Ordinance to permit certain amendments to the operating budget for the Representative Payee Fund and the Fines & Forfeitures Funds.
  • Extend the proposed 3% county employee salary adjustment to apply to those elected officials listed in Section 8 of the proposed Budget Ordinance.

FY22 Budget Highlights

Debt Reserve

  • The budget provides a 9.7 cent contribution to the debt reserve, a 1/2 cent increase from FY21
  • Borrowing is in progress for Chatham County Schools’ Central Services building and the Emergency Operations Center

Chatham County Schools

  • Additional $2.4 million to support the opening of Seaforth High School
  • Additional $180,000 to support a state-mandated retirement increase

Positions Added

Thirty-one additional positions will address the current rising workload demand amid the county’s continued growth:

  • Building Inspections (2)
  • Central Permitting (1)
  • Register of Deeds (1)
  • Watershed Protection (1)
  • Social Services (2)
  • Parks and Recreation (1)
  • Management and Information Systems (MIS) (2)
  • Emergency Communications (5)
  • Chatham 360 Pre-trial Release (1)
  • Facilities (1)
  • Sheriff’s Office
  • Animal Services (2)
  • Detention (11)
  • Law Enforcement (1)

“We are confident that all major revenues are on track to meet or exceed budgeted figures, which bodes well as we continue to expect and plan for growth,” said Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chair Mike Dasher.

The FY22 budget includes merit raises for county employees. Effective July 1, 2021, employees who have met expectations, will receive an increase of 3% in their salaries.

“Due to the uncertainty with COVID-19 last year, we were unable to provide salary increases at that time. The Board wanted to make sure that our dedicated staff are recognized for the excellent work each of them does for the residents of Chatham County,” added Dasher. “We are grateful for all the work they do and their commitment to making Chatham County the best in North Carolina.”

The Chatham County budget document for FY2021-22 will be available on the county website. Printed copies will also be available at the three Chatham County library branches.