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Wilson County property owners won’t see a tax hike under County Manager Denise Stinagle’s proposed 2019-20 budget.
On Monday, Stinagle presented her recommended budget to commissioners, which includes capital improvements to public schools, the community college, detention center and the main library.
The current property tax rate of 73 cents per $100 in property valuation is unchanged in the manager’s budget.
“This represents the 12th year that the tax rate has not increased with a continued commitment to delivering quality citizen services,” Stinagle told commissioners.
The proposed budget totals roughly $98.2 million with a fund balance allocation of 16.87 percent.
The county’s largest service expenditures continue to be human services at 31 percent, education at 26 percent and public safety at 23 percent.
Stinagle said county staffers have worked several years in systematically scheduling capital building needs for roofs, necessary equipment, courthouse improvements and public school needs.
The proposed budget includes $85,000 to update the emergency generator tank connected to the detention center along with roughly $408,000 in updates to the main library, which include security, carpet, flooring and seating.
Stinagle’s budget shows a “modest” pay raise of 3 percent for county employees. It also adjusts several sheriff’s office personnel salaries to better reflect market rates, she said.
The budget will add two paramedics, a telecommunicator, a grants program manager and a licensed clinical social worker at the health department.
The budget continues to support several nonprofits as well as funding for economic development and includes an additional $166,428 to cover Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport enhancements. That amount represents the county’s required match for a state and federal grant the airport received earlier this year.
Stinagle also allotted $35,000 to support renovations at the Arts Council of Wilson’s new downtown office building.
“Wilson County Government and this board share a passion for people, and we are known for our partnerships that continue to make a powerful and meaningful impact in the lives of our citizens,” Stinagle said.
EDUCATION, SHERIFF’S OFFICE AND EMS
The budget includes funding for an ambulance replacement at $264,650 and nine replacement vehicles for the sheriff’s office at $265,483.
Stinagle also allotted $1 million toward Wilson County Schools’ capital needs and roughly $21.7 million for the school system, which is an increase of 3 percent, she said. She also has budgeted $500,000 to cover an additional debt payment for school system capital enhancements.
The proposed budget reflects full funding of Wilson Community College’s budget request and $378,000 in capital outlay.
A LOOK AHEAD
Stinagle said in the year ahead, the county will look to make improvements in its capacity to provide emergency medical services with the addition of an EMS South Station.
“This will enhance response times and our emergency medical services footprint in Wilson County,” Stinagle said. She’s allotted $75,000 to go toward the new EMS station fund established several years ago, bringing it to total $475,000, which fully funds the project.
“We look forward to advancing our efforts on the new animal services shelter,” she added.
Commissioners have already reserved $330,000 in a capital fund for the project. She has proposed this year’s budget to include an additional $100,000, bringing the capital fund balance for the project at $430,000.
“These dollars better place the county to start the pre-work on land and facilities,” Assistant County Manager Ron Hunt said. “With the proposed animal-friendly location, commissioners’ commitment to a new shelter and ongoing discussions on square footage, schematics and functionality, we feel really good about where we are. We are excited that the new animal shelter will be a reality and something we all can be proud of.”
Commissioners and county officials are still in the midst of the budget process. They will reconvene at 6 p.m. Monday, May 20 at the Miller Road County Government Building to go through the proposed budget line by line.
The steps in the process allow for revisions and adjustments to the budget before commissioners take a final vote after a public hearing at 7 p.m. June 4.