Negotiations start with presentation of county budget

Published 6:41 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The county manager’s 2017-18 budget was presented with little fanfare to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners in a special-called meeting Monday night.

The recommended General Fund budget for continuing operations comes in at $56,386,892. The number does not reflect any expansion of services other than adding Beaufort County EMS operations in Washington Township and the health department taking on medical services at the Beaufort County Detention Center, both of which were previously approved by commissioners.

Fiscal year 2016-17’s approved budget was $56.7 million.

County Manager Brian Alligood started the meeting with a general overview, highlighting important points and breaking down the structure of the document so that the information is easily accessible, he said.

“The budget is not just a financial document but an educational document,” Alligood said. “(People can) not only see what funds are being spent on these programs, but also what these programs do.”

The document points out the goals Alligood and Chief Finance Officer Anita Radcliffe set out to achieve during the budget season: continue to rely on financial plans and systems already in place; conservatively estimate revenues and expenditures to avoid unrealistic performance expectations; make sure there’s not an effort to “spend down” funds at the end of the year; present a re-evaluation of all expenditures that allows for policy revenue and service reductions/expansions as necessary; and clearly demonstrate where general fund tax dollars are spent and on what services.

Since the state budget is also currently being created, Alligood said the General Assembly’s decision-making could impact the county budget.

“There’s uncertainty because state budget is still being negotiated,” Alligood said. “We don’t know what’s coming down from the state.”

Commissioners will hold meetings on May 22, May 23 and May 30 to iron out the final budget. Those meetings start at 5 p.m. on each of those dates. All meetings are located at the County Administrative Office and are open to the public. The County Administrative Office is located at 121 W. Third St., Washington.

The manager’s 2017-18 recommended budget can be found online at



  • Thirty-three percent of the recommended budget is allocated to education, 32 percent to human services and 21 percent to public safety.
  • There is no property tax increase in the proposed 2017-18 budget — the ad valorem tax rate will remain the same, at 55 cents per $100 valuation. That rate was increased by 2 cents, from 53 cents per $100, in the 2016-17 budget. At 55 cents, the estimated collection rate will be $32.3 million, an increase of $556,614 more than the prior year. Alligood said the increase is due of new property growth in the county, estimated to have added $75 million to the tax base.
  • The recommended budget proposes seeking a one-time capital expenditures loan of $3 million to catch up on facility repairs to schools and county buildings. Debt service on the loan will be offset by old debt service for a past school bond that will be paid off in the coming year. The loan, if approved, would increase the operations budget to $59,386,892.
  • The recommendation for Beaufort County Schools is $14,918,000, which, along with $659,700 in capital project funding from the above $3 million loan, represents a 1.9-percent increase in funding.
  • Compared with the 2016-17 budget, Beaufort County Community College will see an 11.3-percent increase — a total of $2,798,000, which also includes $165,000 of funding from $3 million loan, if approved.
  • Solid waste fees will remain the same; users of the county water system will see a 3-percent increase across all districts. In 2016, the Board of Commissioners directed 3-percent increases occur each year until 2018 in order to cut down on the system’s debt.
  • Those in the EMS service district of Cherry Run/Old Ford will see in increase from 4.5 cents to 5 cents as part of the Beaufort County EMS service expansion.