Archived Story

Southampton County budget keeps same tax rate

Published 10:04am Friday, May 3, 2013

COURTLAND—Southampton County’s draft budget is ready for review and it has changed from its original form. The new version which is available to view on the county’s website, does not include a tax rate increase but instead keeps the rate at $0.75 per $100 valuation.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

It also does not include the extra $670,000 in funding requested by the county school board.

County Administrator Mike Johnson said it was basically a “flat” budget with “not a lot of changes.”

It does not include raises for county employees either.

Initially, the proposed budget had included a two cents tax increase, but Johnson said the board held several work sessions and tweaked it to keep the rate at its current status.

To make up for that lost revenue, Johnson said he and the board looked at the upcoming increased real estate taxes to be gained from two new businesses coming to the county – Enviva and AMAC. While he explained those revenues will not fully be realized until 2015, the 2013-2014 budget will see a “small amount of revenues that will come in.”

Other sources of revenue that were included was a small increase in meals taxes in the amount of $38,000 to come from the new Hardees Restaurant under construction in Courtland.

Johnson said that while the state revenue coming to the county for the two percent teachers’ raises was put back in the budget after initially being taken out, his budget would not include the extra amount for teacher raises above and beyond the two percent. This will be included in the school budget. He indicated the schools had asked for $11,641,270 locally and the county would be providing them with $11,040,669, approximately $600,000 short of their request.

Overall, the $52.4 million new proposed budget shows a $153,237 loss of revenue over what was initially proposed.

To make up the differences, expense cuts were made.

Some of those cuts include $25,000 for refuse disposal, which Johnson said was based on current trends and the volume of solid waste being handled; $75,000 to upgrade the Capron jail farm cafeteria, which he explained is overseen by the Sheriff’s Department and is in need of repairs; $22,000 for a Public Works pick-up truck; $21,000 for fire and rescue capital projects and $10,000 each for water and sewer repairs. Also $10,000 was cut for the refurbishment of the Rebecca Vaughan house and $600 to the Community Concert Association.

Security upgrades to the county courthouse were included to a certain extent. Johnson said $220,000 was included for purchase of the equipment such as security cameras, scanners and x-ray machines. But he explained the building improvement portion of the courthouse upgrades would have to be financed over an extended period of time but the first year payment was included.

Another hot topic had been the purchase of school buses. Johnson said the schools would have to finance the purchase of the buses but that the county included in the funds they are providing to the schools $70,000 to cover the first year of payments.

The next step in the budget process is to hold a May 20 public hearing and then consider adopting it May 28.

  • Sinoptik

    This’ll help the budget, the raise the comp board approved for public safety has been stolen from the Sheriff’s office and fed into the general fund.

    Suggest Removal

  • DR

    I would gladly trade $220,000 worth of fear and apply the funds to other needs.

    Suggest Removal

  • sgeary

    Well at least he made the right call…if you are going to continue to cut the school budget you will need to beef up security and add room to jails…I know its a rather crazy statement but how is it that the schools for the past 5 years have cut their budget and when the state is going to help and get them a tiny raise the county decides to boost its own budget and once again may the schools pay. It will only take time to show the error in this thinking. Do I think the school budget should be raised every year? NO! They have done their part and with the new state mandates with no attached funding for the age of school buses that is a huge blow. I suggest if the county thinks that it is solely a school issue then the schools need to institute a transportation fee. You have to raise the money somehow. wow I can’t wait till election time should be interesting!

    Suggest Removal

    • ateacher

      sgeary, you are absolutely right….keep cutting the schools and they will need to begin budgeting for a new jail altogether…..the short sightedness of the majority of this board is ridiculous…..unfortunately, the majority of the board (not all) are anti-public education…here is to hoping the “Edwards Four” only get four years….

      Suggest Removal

  • movingrightalong

    From Hertford Co Website

    Real Estate, Personal Property, Machine & Tools
    Hertford County $0.84/$100

    Personal property (cars and trucks) are taxed are .84/$100 in Hertford county.

    Southampton county taxes personal property (cars and trucks) at $5.00/$100.00

    That means Southampton county charges over 595% more for personal property taxes than Hertford county does.

    That is why you see so many vehicles in the area that have NC license plates even though they live here.

    Suggest Removal

  • Liberty With Responsibility

    It is not right to compare (on that chart) county tax rates with city tax rates. In the county we get far fewer services than do cities, so of course a county’s tax should be far lower than a city’s tax rate!! Duh!!

    Suggest Removal

    • ncheck

      Disagree, most of the cities listed here charge extra for those extra services. Compare Southampton with Hertford to our south not so bad.

      Suggest Removal

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