Board approves New Hanover Co. fiscal year budget; $116M slated for public schools

Board approves New Hanover Co. fiscal year budget; $116M slated for public schools

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - More money will go to public schools under the budget adopted by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners for fiscal year 2019-20.

The $399 million budget adopted on Monday maintains the county-wide tax rate of 55.5 cents per $100 of value. According to a news release from the county, this marks three consecutive years the tax rate has either stayed the same or been reduced.

NHC’s board says the budget advances priorities in the county’s strategic plan, including:

  • Providing $116.2 million to support public schools, a 6.9 percent increase from last year. Read more about school funding here.
  • Funding more than $3.3 million in strategic economic development initiatives that should encourage private investment, bring more diverse and higher-wage jobs and enhance quality of life.
  • In a 60/40 cost-sharing arrangement with the City of Wilmington, transitions the responsibility of the forensice lab to New Hanover County from the city.
  • Supports 29 human services community partners, as recommended by the non-county agency funding committee, for a total of $977,000.
  • Includes debt service payments for construction of the Healing Place, a substance abuse treatment center.
  • Invests in workforce housing in partnership with the City of Wilmington, including $45,000 for a workforce housing study and survey.
  • Maintains fire services tax rate for residents in unincorporated areas at 7.75 cents and keep landfill tip fee at $48 per ton.
  • Provides market and merit pay raise for eligible county employees.

“The adopted budget is a statement of the board’s priorities and their commitment to the community,” County Manager Chris Coudriet said in the news release. “It proactively addresses needs that we have now and looks to the future to ensure we are more resilient. It begins to replenish the county’s fund balance, which was affected by Hurricane Florence, and strategically funds important initiatives like the opioid crisis, workforce housing and public education.”

On May 20, the recommended budget was presented to the board and a public hearing was held June 3. The board approved the budget with a few changes Monday and it will be available on the finance website by July 24.

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