Local News

Durham County budget includes tax hike

Posted May 27, 2008 9:42 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2008 5:05 a.m. EDT

— Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin presented the proposed budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year on Tuesday evening.

It would bring a 2.73-cent hike in the property tax rate. The proposed rate would be 71.55 cents per $100, compared with last year's 69 cents. For the owner of a home valued at $186,000, the increase would be $50.78 yearly, or $4.23 a month.

The proposed spending plan also would increase funding for Durham Public Schools by 8 percent, which would take up 3 cents of the property tax rate.

“The two major drivers in next year’s county budget are increases for debt service and school funding,” said Ruffin. “These two alone explain why the tax rate increase is necessary. Together, they simply amount to (a need for) more new money than normal revenue growth in the county budget can absorb.”

Budget highlights:

  • 1 cent of property tax generates $2,803,074
  • The General Fund increased by 3.45 percent
  • General Fund Budget after pass-through funding is subtracted: $683,556,619 less pass-through of $319,444,380 = net $364,112,239
  • Percentage of current expense funding to projected property tax collections: 63.91 percent (includes DPS school debt service of $22.935 million).
  • 20.35 new full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) are recommended, representing a 1 percent increase in FTEs. Of those, 11.5 are grant-funded. One position is funded through the Enterprise Fund. A total of 1,918.38 FTEs are recommended in the budget.
  • Fuel for county vehicles would be allocated $835,879.
  • This year, 52 nonprofit agencies applied for a total of $1,813,593 in grants from the county. Ruffin recommended funding 33 of those organizations at a cost of $927,170. Three would be first-time recipients.

The Durham County Commissioners will hold several budget work sessions over the coming weeks, and citizens can voice views at a public hearing scheduled for Monday, June 9 at 7 p.m. The final budget is scheduled for adoption no later than Monday, June 23.