Tuesday May 18, 2021

Proposed FY22 County budget addresses education, workforce

FY22 Budget Cover

People. Places. Progress.

These elements provide the foundation of the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-22 Cabarrus County budget, presented to County Commissioners on Monday by County Manager Mike Downs.

In delivering the proposal, Downs said the budget balanced future investments with “being mindful of how those investments affect taxpayers” who may be struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic.

The recommended 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.

Budgeted sales tax revenue for FY22 is 42% higher than the FY21 budget. Although a significant increase from budget to budget, actual sales tax revenues for FY21 exceeded the budget due to the effects of COVID-19 not materializing. The FY22 sales tax budget is consistent with the projected final FY21 revenues.

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.

Here are some highlights of the FY22 proposed budget.

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 outlined in the proposal. They include:

  • A 0.5% increase to County-paid local supplements for educators, which helps attract teachers to the area
  • $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,” Downs told Commissioners.

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 under the proposed budget.

“Human Services staff frequently carry caseloads that result in burnout and job turnover,” Downs said in his message. “To continue exceptional service delivery, the recommended budget adds 15 full-time and one part-time position to improve work satisfaction and better meet the needs of our growing community.” The positions 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

Commissioners will hold a budget public hearing on June 7 at 6:30 p.m. That same evening, the Board will also hold a public hearing about 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.

Following a June 10 budget workshop, if needed, the board plans to vote on the budget June 21.

“I want to thank the Board for your steady leadership during this challenging time,” Downs said in his message Monday night. “Your support allowed us to provide uninterrupted service during the pandemic. Our visionary staff went the extra mile to implement new technologies, revise service models and modify facilities. These actions protected our employees, their families and the community.”

Gov. 101: FY22 budget

As part of the Government 101 education series, the County will host two programs that introduce the public to the County’s budget process and key details of the FY22 budget. The first is a virtual session set for June 1 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and will provide a general budget overview. The second in-person session is Friday, June 4 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This session includes the overview plus presentations and demonstrations on how the budget works. Participants will also have an opportunity to participate in open discussions with County management and Commissioners. 

To register for either Government 101 session, call 704-920-2336 or email outreach@cabarruscounty.us.

View the proposed FY22 budget here

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