Orange County passes budget with no tax increase

Staff writerJune 21, 2011 

— The Orange County commissioners passed a budget with no tax increase for the third year in a row Tuesday night.

The $178.2 million general fund budget keeps the county property tax rate at 85.8 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The owner of a $250,000 house will pay $2,145 in county property tax in the coming fiscal year.

The budget has no cost-of-living increases for county workers, extends a six-month hiring freeze in most departments and increases the county's living wage to $10.81 per hour. It phases in new positions in public safety, emergency medical services, libraries and solid waste convenience centers. It also picks up some funding for a drug court and other areas cut by the state.

"I think we can be really proud of this budget," Commissioner Barry Jacobs said. "We continue to represent what Orange County stands for and what Orange County would like to stand for."

The county tax is the largest slice of the total tax bill for residents who also pay town taxes and, if they live in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, a school district tax. In Chapel Hill, for example, the three tax levies will combine for a total property tax bill on a $250,000 house this coming fiscal year of $3,851.

mark.schultz@newsobserver.com or 919-932-2003

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