County receives recommended budget

Published 8:09 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2016

County Manager Brian Alligood presented his recommended budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year at Monday night’s meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners. Download it HERE.

The recommended budget comes in at $56,320,001. The budget calls for a 2-cent increase in property tax, from 53 cents per $100 valuation to 55 cents and an increase in the EMS tax to two separate service districts. The Bath/Pamlico Beach EMS tax will be raised to 5 cents and Cherry Run Road/Old Ford will be increased from 4 cents to 4.5 cents. Washington EMS is currently contracted to cover the Cherry Run/Old Ford service area.

According to Alligood’s presentation, the budget has been reduced to 2013-14 levels — to go any lower, he and Chief Finance Officer Anita Radcliffe would have had to cut services.

The budget does account for three new ongoing expenditures. The budget calls for funding of five new Emergency Medical Dispatch positions with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office E-911 Center. It includes a Beaufort County EMS ambulance to cover the Belhaven/Pantego area, in addition to the paramedic-manned ambulance the county pays White Oak EMS $350,000 per year to cover. It also funds a full year of Beaufort County EMS, established in 2015 to cover gaps in paramedic-level service in the county, with three Quick Response Vehicles and an ambulance placed in strategic locations on the north and south sides of the Pamlico River.

The recommended budget also moves the county’s solid waste program from the general fund to its own enterprise fund, which will result in a $50 increase in solid waste fees. Alligood said the increase will fully fund the program and stop the past subsidy from the general fund.

Alligood referred to the 2016-2017 budget-making process as a challenge, in part because of the turnover of high-level officials in the county offices over the past several years and the loss of institutional knowledge. The 2016-17 county budget is a first for both Alligood and Radcliffe.

Alligood said while sales tax revenue is expected to be down this year, the expansion on service taxes enacted by the General Assembly should augment that.

Coming decisions made by North Carolina legislators could put more of a burden on North Carolina counties, as billions of dollars of federal funding for education, housing and transportation are at risk due to the General Assembly’s recent passage of House Bill 2, which mandates which bathrooms a transgender person may use in the state, among other things.

The Board of Commissioners will hold a series of workshops May 16, 17 and 19 and May 23 and 24, to refine the budget.

Commissioner Hood Richardson said he would not vote for any budget that had a 2-cent tax increase.

The 2016-17 manager’s recommended budget can be found at