FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Cumberland County Commissioners passed the Fiscal Year 2023 annual budget tonight. The budget passed in a 4-2 vote. Commissioner Charles Evans was not present. The budget maintains the County’s current property tax rate of 79.9 cents per $100 valuation and makes investments in the Board’s strategic priorities.
The approved budget includes the following changes from County Manager’s recommended budget:
• An additional $30,000 in funding for Cumberland HealthNet
• An additional $3,000 in funding for Vision Resource Center
• A reduction of $33,000 for Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County
• An additional $50,000 FCEDC for marketing
• A reduction of $50,000 for Utilities
• An increase of $300,000 in grant funding for Enhanced Mobility
• An increase of $200,000 in funding for the MPO
• An increase of $2,000 for the Vice Chair’s salary
The approved budget includes just under $553 million in expenditures across all County funds, with $362 million appropriated for General Fund expenses, which represents a $22 million or 6.5% increase over the FY2023 General Fund budget.
The budget provides funding to address the Board of Commissioners’ ongoing priorities including:
• Continuing to move forward with the replacement of the Crown Theatre and Arena with anticipated site review and selection, land procurement, updating and refining project cost estimates, and procurement of a design/construction team.
• Allocating $258,600 to move forward with Phase 1 of the Gray’s Creek Water Project to serve two elementary schools and residential customers located along the route
• Moving forward with addressing homelessness including identifying potential sites for a homeless shelter.
• Maintaining local funding for mental health services and recommending utilizing existing MCO fund balance to increase levels of mental health and substance abuse services in the county.
• Providing $390,254 for a pilot project to provide in-home case management and care coordination to help address the social determinants of health and reduce barriers and gaps in services to those most in need.
• Including $50,000 for a pilot transportation program to address transportation access issues for citizens receiving services from the Public Health Department.
The budget seeks to address the County’s recruitment and retention issues of finding and maintaining an experienced, well-trained workforce. Initiatives include:
• Funding for a 4% cost-of-living adjustment for County employees.
• Additional market adjustments to increase the entry level salary rates for sheriff’s deputies and detention officers.
• $95,000 to conduct an organization-wide classification and market study to address salary compression, inequity, and competitive pay within ranges.
• Funding for a pilot project to transition social workers in DSS to permanent remote work, which could be expanded to other County departments in future years.
Additionally, the recommended budget also includes:
• $755,657 for 15 new positions (not including the new positions related to the in-home case management and care coordination program).
• $84.3 million in current expense funding for Cumberland County Schools, representing 43.47% of the property tax rate and an increase of $1.3 million from FY2022.
• An additional $3.9 million in funding to Cumberland County Schools for School Health Nurses, School Resource Officers, and School Crossing Guards.
• $14.2 million in current expense funding for Fayetteville Technical Community College, which is an increase of $935,000.
• $2 million to replace 32 vehicles (21 from the Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center).