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Revenue neutral budget

Polk manager recommends revenue neutral budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 

COLUMBUS—Polk County Manager Marche Pittman has submitted his budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-2022 that is revenue neutral following this year’s property revaluation. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met during a special meeting to hear the manager’s proposal. Commissioners also set a public hearing for June 7 at 5 p.m. for the budget. 

The total budget proposal is for $35,553,970 with a 50.45-cent tax rate, which is revenue neutral per the North Carolina Local Government Commission’s formula. 

Pittman said the budget does use fund balance to balance the budget as well as American Rescue Plan Act funds to help with some expenses for COVID-19 expenses. 

“This year will be challenging for us as we move forward in a post COVID world,” Pittman said. “Some of the things we anticipated last year simply did not occur; there was little reduction in property tax and sales tax collections for the year. In fact, our collection rate has remained steady and we are seeing growth in sales tax of approximately 17 percent from the prior year. While these sales tax numbers are encouraging, we cannot anticipate that kind of growth sustaining.” 

The proposed budget includes a projected drop in sales tax revenue of approximately 5 percent. 

Major capital expenditures in the upcoming proposed budget include $406,000 for the sheriff’s office for new patrol vehicles, computer replacements, cameras and a walk through scanner for the courthouse; $402,600 in maintenance for roof repair at the library and maintenance building and a new generator for the law enforcement center; $138,700 in transportation for vehicles; $82,940 at the jail for ladders, protective vests and a transport vehicle; $66,000 in the solid waste enterprise fund for box bins and a new water line at the transfer station; $60,279 in public health for 2 trucks for health inspectors; $48,402 for animal control for a truck and box; $47,277 in 911 communications for workstation chairs, paging system, computers and GIS server; $36,012 in the tax department for a new truck for an appraiser, desk and computers; $30,000 in recreation for playground replacement at Gibson Park; $30,000 in human resources for recruitment software; $28,900 in EMS for computers, radios, stretcher and rail system; $21,000 to Isothermal Community College for service van/truck for maintenance at the Polk campus; $20,370 to the department of social services for office chairs, computers and furniture; $16,759 to the library for technology updates and building improvements; $8,700 to the 911 communications general fund for radios and a new computer; $6,644 to building inspections for new flooring and computers; $6,500 to elections for voting booths, signage and a desk and $6,000 to cooperative extension for audio visual equipment and kitchen updates. 

Pittman said the proposed general fund budget is balanced and is increased overall from the current amended budget by 2.49 percent but overall, including the general fund, special revenue funds, capital project funds and enterprise fund is decreased by 18.05 percent from the current amended budget. 

“This budget will allow us to maintain and, in some cases, improve services for our citizens,” Pittman said. “I appreciate the hard work, effort and sacrifice that was put into this process by our department heads.” 

Commissioners will hold budget workshops next Monday and Tuesday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the 2nd floor of the Womack building in Columbus.