FAYETTEVILLE – The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners passed the Fiscal Year 2024 annual budget during a meeting Wednesday evening. The budget, which maintains the County’s current property tax rate of 79.9 cents per $100 valuation, passed in a unanimous vote.
The approved budget includes the following adjustments from County Manager Clarence Grier’s recommended General Fund budget:
- An additional $7,667 for Mid-Carolina Government additional local match
- An additional $26,800 for Audit Contract Additional Expense
- A reduction of $195,896 in Community Funding
- An increase of $439,165 for Medicaid GAP Funding 75/25 E&E
- An increase of $269,609 for Medicaid Expansion Continuous Coverage Unwinding
- An increase of $8,121,245 for ARPA funds approved by the Board on June 5, 2023
The approved budget also includes a decrease in the recommended annual Solid Waste Fee from $130 to $93, along with a $3,962,219 decrease in revenue and $3,962,219 increase in appropriated Solid Waste Fund Balance.
The approved budget includes just under $576 million in expenditures across all County funds, with $382 million appropriated for General Fund expenses.
The budget continues to address Board of Commissioners’ priorities including:
- Continuing to move forward with design and construction of the new Crown Event Center to replace the existing Crown Theatre and Arena, with a target opening date of Nov. 1, 2025
- Advancing the design and construction of a Homeless Support Center with anticipated site selection and construction to begin in FY2024
- Committing nearly $9.8 million in the Capital Investment Fund for development of a water system in the Gray’s Creek Water District to address GenX and PFAS contamination
- Moving forward with the second year of Public Health pilot programs for in-home case management and care coordination, and patient transportation to appointments
The recommended budget also includes:
- $50,897 for one new position – a Custodian Crew Leader for the Spring Lake Resource Center – following the retirement of a contracted employee and determination that it will be more cost-effective to hire an employee than to continue contracting services.
- $504,300 in funding for Capital Outlay, including $176,000 to purchase climate-controlled cages for Animal Services vehicles to comply with state regulations and ensure the health and safety of animals being transported
- $1.4 million to replace 21 vehicles
- $346,867 for the creation of a 911 Backup Center following the completion of a new Emergency Services Center in FY2023
- $87.5 million in current expense funding for Cumberland County Schools, representing 43.47% of the property tax rate and an increase of $3.2 million from FY2023, along with $1.9 million for School Health Nurses and $2.9 million for School Resource Officers and School Crossing Guards
- $15.47 million in current expense funding for Fayetteville Technical Community College, which is an increase of $1.2 million over FY2023
Additionally, the approved budget includes funding to continue addressing employee retention and recruitment issues the County is facing. Recommendations from a County-wide Classification and Compensation Study, which was funded in FY2023, are anticipated in August 2023, at which time the recommendations will be presented to the Board of Commissioners for consideration and implementation in FY2024. Additionally, the recommended FY2024 budget includes:
The approved budget also includes the following fee increases for the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund:
- Increasing the annual Solid Waste Fee from $56 to $93 to provide funding for current operational needs and expansion of the current Ann Street Landfill. This fee is charged to residential properties with 7 or fewer units, and the current fee is considerably lower than surrounding counties.
- Increasing the availability and tipping fees by $2 for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), Construction and Demolition (C&D) and Mixed Loads; and by $4 for yard waste at the Wilkes Road Treatment and Processing Facility.