Tuesday June 22, 2021

Commissioners pass budget aimed at schools and workforce needs

Watch the discussion and vote in the video below.


At their June 21 meeting, commissioners (4-1) voted to adopt the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Cabarrus County budget. 

The budget increases funding in several important areas while maintaining the property tax rate of 74 cents per $100 of assessed value, for a total Operating Budget of just over $297 million.

With that tax rate, owners of a $214,000 house (the median single-family assessed home value in Cabarrus), would pay $1,584 a year in County property tax.

Commissioners also approved the Cabarrus Economic Development Commission’s operating budget and the Cold Water Volunteer Fire Department’s request for a 2-cent tax increase for residents in the service area. This would bring the total amount of Cold Water fire district tax to 8 cents per $100 of property value.

Outside the General Fund, the County is responsible for administration of Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, Landfill Property, 911 Emergency Telephone and Health Insurance funds. The grand total of all funds is $393 million.

Following the budget plan for FY22, the Board is expected to adopt the County’s capital improvement plan (CIP) in July, which would appropriate $181.2 million for deferred maintenance and capital projects.

Here are some highlight of the FY22 adopted budget plan:

Education funding

Education remains a large part of the County’s budget. Using cash-on-hand funding as well as debt financing, a variety of school-related projects are included.

  • A 0.5% increase to County-paid local supplements for educators, which helps attract and retain teachers
  • $9 million for Cabarrus County Schools to install mobile units for the Early College at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College; start design work for the replacement of R. Brown McAllister Elementary School; and complete several deferred maintenance projects including parking lots lights, paving and floor replacements
  • $2.5 million for Kannapolis City Schools to renovate the tennis courts and track at A.L. Brown High School, replace security cameras at multiple schools; replace carpet at Forest Park Elementary School; and complete several deferred maintenance projects including playground replacements, roof repairs and painting
  • $553,000 for Rowan Cabarrus Community College to recoat the roof and replace the fire alarm system at the Cabarrus Business and Technology Center and to replace security cameras at the South Campus
  • $10.5 million to complete construction of Roberta Road Middle School for Cabarrus County Schools
  • $32 million to build a replacement for R. Brown McAllister Elementary School for Cabarrus County School
  • $7.8 million for roof replacements at Bethel Elementary, Weddington Hills Elementary, CC Griffin Middle, Central Cabarrus High and Concord High, and to replace the parking and driveway at Mount Pleasant High
  • $4.3 million to design a replacement for Northwest High School for Cabarrus County Schools

Workforce additions

Many position additions in the FY22 budget are connected to departments and organizations that create and sustain a healthy and safe Cabarrus.

The recommended budget funds merit increases for Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) staff. The funds will also allow CHA to add:

  • An on-site well water inspector to ensure water systems are safe and reduce the case backlog
  • A school health director to oversee and lead the school nurse program, which provides a dedicated nurse at every public school in the county
  • An epidemiologist to provide consistent surveillance of community health data

The budget also funds 13 new positions in public safety agencies such as Construction Standards, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Services and the Sheriff’s Office. The new positions include:

  • Deputies to investigate crimes and patrol the community
  • An EMS assistant director to oversee logistics and operations and maintain high-quality response
  • A fire operations chief to oversee Squad 410 as they continue to support volunteer fire department response
  • Code enforcement officers to complete residential and commercial property inspections in a timely manner and help maintain appropriate inspector workloads

Human Services is another County department getting some much-needed help to address large caseloads that result in burnout and job turnover. The recommended budget adds 15 full-time and one part-time position that include social workers, social work supervisors and income maintenance staff, among others.

Other capital projects

During FY22, the County plans to issue more than $150 million of debt to help future building and maintenance projects, including:

  • $46.8 million to complete construction of the new Cabarrus County Courthouse
  • $17 million to design and build a new Public Safety Training Facility
  • $16 million to design and build a new Emergency Medical Services headquarters
  • $10.5 million to complete construction of Roberta Road Middle School for Cabarrus County Schools
  • $10 million to replace and/or expand a Cabarrus County Public Library branch(es)
  • $7.8 million for roof replacements at Bethel Elementary, Weddington Hills Elementary, CC Griffin Middle, Central Cabarrus High and Concord High and to replace the parking and driveway at Mount Pleasant High
  • $6.3 million for design and construction of an emergency equipment warehouse and information technology department office
  • $4.3 million to design a replacement for Northwest High School for Cabarrus County Schools
  • $4.1 million to acquire, design and construct a new park and/or ball fields in the northeast portion of the county
  • $4 million to add new amenities at Frank Liske Park, including a boardwalk and splash pad
  • $2.3 million to acquire, design and construct a new northeast radio tower

Citizen involvement

To increase transparency and community engagement in the process, the County’s budget was published online and made available in print for public viewing more than 30 days ahead of the vote.

As part of the Government 101 education series, the County held two programs that introduced the public to its budget process and key details of the FY22 budget. Officials also held an internal program that gave County employees who don’t typically work on the County’s budget an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.

The two-hour virtual event for the public was posted and can be viewed on the County’s Facebook page, @CabarrusCounty. Search for Gov 101: FY22 Budget Breakdown.

Commissioners also held a budget public hearing on June 7 at 6:30 p.m. and, having no further changes to the budget, canceled their tentative June 10 budget workshop.

To view the proposed FY22 budget, visit https://cabarruscounty.us/departments/budget-evaluation and click the tile that says “FY22 Recommended Budget.”

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