County leaders ponder new budget

·4 min read

May 20—GUILFORD COUNTY — The Guilford County Board of Commissioners got its first look at its budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year and how the spending plan might affect the property tax homeowners and businesses pay.

The board also did its financial part to lure a new employer to High Point during its meeting Thursday night.

On the 2022-23 fiscal year budget, County Manager Michael Halford recommended keeping the county property tax rate at 73.05 cents per $100 property valuation.

But with property value reevaluations this year, Guilford County taxpayers would face increases in the amount they pay because of significantly increased values of property. Halford told the commissioners that the average increase in property tax for a median value home of $241,750 would be $418 per year.

Keeping the budget revenue neutral — and lessening the property tax homeowners and businesses pay — would mean setting a property tax rate of 59.54 cents per $100 valuation. The overall increase in property tax revenue from keeping the rate the same instead of at revenue neutral is $150.1 million.

The recommended total for all budgeted funds is $855 million. Halford said the recommended budget expands investments in public education, funds major school facility capital needs, helps the county meet additional demands for service and improves the county's fiscal position.

The budget recommendation comes after Guilford County voters approved a $1.7 billion school construction bond package in Tuesday's primary. County staff has indicated that the county will need $50 million in extra revenue each year through 2038 to pay off the obligation. Halford said that amounts to 7 cents per $100 valuation.

Halford's budget would fund an additional $73.6 million for education to support the operating and capital needs of Guilford County Schools and Guilford Technical Community College.

The budget would provide $251.6 million for Guilford County Schools, including $241 million to support operations. The proposal is a $16 million increase over the current fiscal year budget, which is the largest one-year increase for school funding.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the budget during its meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 2 at the Old Guilford County Courthouse at 301 W. Market St. in downtown Greensboro. The commissioners may adopt the budget at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 16.

The 2022-23 fiscal year begins July 1.

On the High Point economic development project, the board voted unanimously to extend $457,445 in economic incentives to Ecolab, which is considering a relocation of its operation in Winston-Salem to the new High Point North Industrial Center. The business park is along Sandy Ridge Road.

The High Point City Council on Monday night voted to offer its own set of $414,863 in incentives to Ecolab.

The company plans a more than $93 million total investment in the project, according to information presented to the commissioners by county staff and company officials. Ecolab would have to meet benchmarks to receive the incentives.

The company has 125 workers at its Winston-Salem operation and intends to create 20 new jobs with its relocation to High Point.

Ecolab would develop an 825,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehousing operation at the north High Point business park near the intersection of Sandy Ridge Road and Interstate 40.

"This is an important project," said High Point Economic Development Corp. President Sandy Dunbeck, who spoke on behalf of Ecolab.

The company is considering sites in other states for the project, Dunbeck told the commissioners.

Ecolab operates in more than 110 countries and has 700 workers at its facilities in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, company officials said. Ecolab provides an array of cleaning and environmental services and products to businesses in the food, health care, hospitality and industrial markets.

During a public hearing on the incentives request at the commissioners' meeting, company leaders provided details on the project. No one spoke in opposition to the incentives request.

The company plans to announce a site for the project in the third quarter of this year, Dunbeck told The High Point Enterprise.

pjohnson@hpenews.com — 336-888-3528 — @HPEpaul