The Chatham County Board of Commissioners adopted a $94 million county budget Monday that holds the tax rate steady, while funding a new teacher incentive pay program and continuing a high school laptop program.
“Through cautious spending over the past four years, Chatham County is in the position of being able to fund important school needs requested by the Board of Education and help get our employees’ salaries up to a more competitive level,” Chairman Walter Petty said in a news release.
Petty added that the budget also helps move the county closer to achieving a AAA bond rating, which is the highest possible rating.
The county tax rate of 62.19 cents per $100 of assessed property value means a homeowner with a $200,000 house will pay $1,243.80 in county taxes for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Under a change in the budget made by the commissioners, all county employees with salaries below market will get a raise effective October 1 that will bring them up to market level , while employees already at market will get a 2.5 percent increase.
The laptop program, in its fifth year, provides high school students and teachers with expanded learning opportunities outside the classroom and online progress assessments.
Vice Chairman Brian Bock called the incentive pay plan for educators “groundbreaking.”
“We believe we are the first in the state to have a locally-funded incentive pay plan,” he said in the release. “The plan rewards educators and classified personnel who help students reach their student learning targets.”
Bock said that these incentives should help the school system recruit and retain teachers capable of using innovative strategies to meet the state’s targets for growth in student learning.
Other major school projects funded in the adopted budget are:
The adopted budget includes funds for several economic development projects, a top priority of the Board of Commissioners. Petty noted, “Successful economic development projects will help ensure that we can continue to fund our budgetary needs without tax increases.” Specific funded items include:
The adopted tax rates for the fire districts remain the same as last year with one exception. The commissioners approved a requested one-cent tax increase for the Siler City Fire Department to fund a full-time paid fire chief.