County passes budget with 2-cent tax increase

Published 12:12 am Monday, June 17, 2019

Property taxes will go up 2 cents in Beaufort County for 2019-20.

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners passed the 2019-20 budget Monday night in a special-called meeting. The budget ordinance passed 4-3, with commissioners Ed Booth, Jerry Evans, Jerry Langley and Frankie Waters voting for and commissioners Gary Brinn, Stan Deatherage and Hood Richardson voting against.

  • The budget comes in at $59,638,743, an increase of $1.2 million over the budget Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood presented to commissioners in May. Initially, a 1-cent per $100 valuation property tax was tacked onto the budget during commissioners’ workshop for:
  • Additional capital improvement funding, $246,075;
  • A 2% Cost of Living Adjustment for county employees, $363,618;
  • A 2% COLA for employees of Beaufort-Hyde-Martin Regional Libraries, $5,331;
  • Participation in the 2nd Judicial District Opioid Task Force Drug Court, with all 2nd Judicial District counties making the same contribution of $10,000;
  • Membership in NCEast Alliance economic development partnership, $14,251;
  • A child welfare position at the Beaufort County Department of Social Services, $68,594 ($15,474 of which is paid by state/federal sources).

By a 4-3 vote Monday night, commissioners voted for an additional 1-cent per $100 valuation in order to give more money to Beaufort County Schools, because of a $1.1 million shortfall between the schools’ budget and the amount of money the county allotted to the school system in next year’s budget. Commissioner Jerry Langley made the motion to add the tax to partially offset the schools’ deficit — the motion made and approved specifies that $375,000 of the $575,000 from the tax increase would go to the school system; the other $200,000 would be used at the discretion of the county, to “wherever it needs to go.”

The decision was surrounded by heated discussion, as at last week’s regular meeting several school officials made it clear that if they were not funded, a school might have to be closed.

“The school system got the same amount of money that they got this year and how they end up with a shortfall just blows my mind,” Langley said.

Commissioners Deatherage and Richardson both put forward that the county budget could be cut elsewhere to make up for the schools’ shortfall. Waters disagreed and challenged the two commissioners to do the math themselves.

“You’re smart enough. Why don’t you just go ahead and say, ‘Take it out of EMS.’ But you won’t do that,” Waters said.

The 2019-20 budget ordinance can be found on the Beaufort County website at, as well as in the county Administrative Office at 121 W. Third St., Wahington.