Tax rate the same in proposed county budget

Published 10:17 am Friday, June 2, 2017

Davie residents would pay the same property tax rate in the upcoming fiscal year, if a proposed budget is approved by county commissioners after a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday in the county administration building.

“This budget process has been difficult for the county, and needs exceeded revenues,” County Manager John Eller wrote in his budget message. “We have prioritized request based on the immediate needs of the county. Tough decisions were made regarding positions, operations, funding for outside agencies and capital needs.”

Eller said that preparing for the future is also important. Increased economic and residential growth means an increase in demands for county services.

“We can approach these items strategically and with anticipation, so we can develop comprehensive long-range plans which will be developed this year to guide proper growth.”

Other budget highlights:

• no increase in water or sewer rates;

• 20 positions were requested, seven funded – 1 tax/revaluation specialist, two positions at the animal shelter, 1 inspector for permits/inspections, 1 EMS paramedic, 1 project manager to assist with growth/infrastructure needs and capital improvements; and 1 line maintenance mechanic for the utilities department;

• 1% salary increase for most employees, benefit premiums to remain;

• the new recreation/parks board will make recommendations on how to allocate funding for community recreation centers;

• fire department/rescue funding to remain the same;

• more money for upkeep of former high school and hospital sites; and

• implementing a strategic plan.

The county will maintain its policy of a 25% fund balance.

“The county has not experienced a surge in revenue over the past several years,” Eller wrote. “Due to our history of level operational property tax, the county is beginning to experience pressures that must be addressed in coming years.”

The county has not increased the property tax rate for operations in more than 10 years, although there is a $.108 to pay for debt incurred from the new high school.

The county could levy a quarter cent sales tax, Eller said. While one cent in sales tax results in $2.8 million in revenue, a one-cent increase in the property tax rate equals $447,114.

“It is advantaageous to grow our retail base as we begin planning for future economic development opportunities throughout the county.”

“Property values have stabilized. As more companies choose to invest in Davie County, we hope their investment will result in jobs that pay above the median income,” Eller said. “As the county grows, it will be important for us to maintain or even increase service delivery to our citizens while maintaining a healthy fund balance. Our staff will continue to expolore innovative ways to create revenue while looking toward outside funding.”

Eller is heading a plan to development a strategic plan for Davie County, using information not only from governments, but from non-profits and the private sector.

“This plan will serve as a compass to guide our organization in making decisions, focusing on economic diversification, workforst development, and the importance of key community infrastructure,” he said.

The strategic plan is focusing on five areas: safe and healthy community, growth and infrastructure, business operations, quality of life and place, and education.

Copies of the proposed budget are available at the county clerk’s office or online at