Reduced Orange budget clears hurdle

June 13, 2009 

— The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted 6 to 1 late Thursday to tentatively approve a $177.6 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The board will take a formal vote Tuesday.

Only Pam Hemminger, the former Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board chairwoman, voted against the budget. County Manager Laura Blackmon's budget cuts funding to the county's two school systems by about $2 million, to 48.1 percent of the county's general fund.

The tax rate falls to 85.8 cents per $100 of assessed property value to reflect revaluation. The owner of a house now valued at $298,840, the countywide average, will pay $2,564 in county taxes, a $159 increase.

The new tax rate is revenue neutral, meaning the county should take in the same amount of property tax revenue as this year. The average real property tax bill is higher because the county will be taking in less revenue from other taxable property such as cars.

The budget is down from the $183 million originally proposed for the current fiscal year, Commissioner Alice Gordon noted.

Staff writer Mark Schultz

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