The Franklin County Board of Supervisors adopted a scaled-down 2020-21 budget with a 5 to 1 vote at the end of a June 2 work session.
Rocky Mount District Supervisor Mike Carter provided the single no vote. Boone District Supervisor Ronnie Thompson was not present.
“We’ve managed to do this with not cutting any services or laying any county employee off,” Blackwater District Supervisor Ronnie Mitchell said Tuesday. The budget of about $146 million contains no cost-of-living raises for employees and allows for no new hires.
Franklin County’s supervisors, like governing boards across the country, had to rethink their budget in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic shutdown.
The board did not change the county’s real estate tax rate of 61 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That decision could cause an effective tax increase for residents, as the county’s 2020 real estate reassessment resulted in an average property value increase of about 5%.
The board did reduce the county’s personal property tax rate on such items as cars and boats by 5 cents, from $2.46 per $100 of assessed value to $2.41.
“We saw this as a way to help citizens at least a little,” Gills Creek Supervisor Lorie Smith said June 3. “The reluctance to do more was based on many unknowns, primarily how much the state is going to cut us this summer.”
Supervisors balanced the $280,000 revenue reduction resulting from the personal property tax cut by cutting the amount the county is reserving for capital projects and increasing the school system’s potential financial responsibility for Children’s Service Act related expenses, County Administrator Chris Whitlow said.
In March, the board approved a switch to collecting real estate tax twice yearly instead of annually, but that change will not take effect until at least 2022, as the county needs to design and implement a new collection system, Whitlow said.