Cuts in proposed Orange County budget don't raise taxes

Staff writerMay 18, 2011 

  • The county will hold public hearings on the budget Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Department of Social Services building, 113 Mayo St. in Hillsborough, and Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

— Orange County’s proposed budget of $177.3 million cuts spending $3.9 million, or 2 percent, from the current year’s amended budget.

The county’s property tax rate would remain 85.8 cents on $100 worth of property, or $2,145 on a $250,000 house.

County Manager Frank Clifton’s plan has no layoffs but does ask residents to pay more for county landfill services and proposes a new annual sanitation household fee to fund facility improvements and extended hours at the solid waste convenience centers. The fee would generate $320,000 in the next fiscal year.

A new $5 surcharge on landfill tipping fees, along with money from the county’s Solid Waste Enterprise fund, would go into a reserve to pay for improvements in the Rogers Road community, the neighborhood that borders the landfill.

Property taxes make up 75.3 percent of the budget, with sales tax contributing 8.6 percent. Sales tax revenue is down 47 percent since fiscal 2007, 2008. The county is projecting sale tax revenues to grow 1 to 2 percent next year.

The county will maintain the same district tax for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools: 18.84 cents per $100, and proposes $83.5 million to fund both districts and an additional $1.8 million in initiatives to provide school nurses, social workers and resource officers. Altogether, school funding represents 48.1 percent of the county’s general fund, a county goal for school spending.

katelyn.ferral@newsobserver.com or 919-932-8746

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