Local Politics

Proposed Durham County budget includes tax increase

Posted May 24

Durham County logo, Durham County shield

— A $629.9 million budget proposed for Durham County includes more money for schools and a tax increase for property owners.

The 3-cent increase to the county tax rate would add $60 to the annual tax bill on a $200,000 house.

"As we plan for the next budget year, we face many competing challenges and opportunities that one entity alone cannot resolve," County Manager Wendell Davis said, noting that declines state revenue and slower growth in property tax and sales tax collections have placed a strain on the county, resulting in the inability to accept many high-priority budget requests.

Two cents of the proposed tax increase would generate $7.1 million to help pay off long-term debt accrued though voter-approved bond issues. The remaining 1-cent increase would go toward Durham Public Schools ($2.6 million) and the county's general operating fund ($888,530).

Overall, the county budget would provide an extra $4.76 million to the school district, as well as $206,384 to Durham Technical Community College.

Other highlights to the county budget include replacing 42 vehicles for EMS, the sheriff's office and other departments, as well as new equipment for the sheriff's office, EMS and the fire marshal.

The Board of Commissioners will hold budget work sessions on May 25 and 30 and June 13-14. A public hearing for the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 12 in the Commissioners’ Chambers, at 200 E. Main St., and commissioners are expected to approve a final budget on June 26.

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