Brunswick commissioners OK $214M budget, revenue neutral tax increase is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Brunswick County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a revenue-neutral property tax increase to fund the county’s $214.2 million budget.

The approved $214.2 million budget includes a revenue-neutral property tax rate of 48.5 cents per $100 of property valuation. The county underwent a property revaluation in January, which saw the county’s assessed value of all properties drop 10 percent, Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy said. The budget includes a $3 million fund balance appropriation.

“The recommended budget is based upon the revenue-neutral ad valorem tax rate of 48.5 cents, which is an increase of 4.25 cents over the current rate of 44.25 cents,” Hardy said when she presented her recommended budget to commissioners last month. A revenue-neutral tax rate is one that is projected to produce the same amount of revenue equal to the current year’s revenue if a revaluation had not occurred.

“As required by N.C. General Statutes, the county calculates a revenue neutral tax rate based on the average of growth during the past our years,” Hardy said.

The value of 1 cent on the tax rate is $2.1 million, compared to $2.3 million in the current fiscal year. The county tax on a home valued at $250,000 would be $1,212, and the county tax on a vehicle with a $25,000 value would be $121.

County revenues are continue to “modestly” improve with all major categories increasing, Hardy said.

Central government is slated to receive $12.1 million, public safety–including the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office–is budgeted for $35.3 million, human services will receive $27.7 million and economic development is tapped to receive $5.7 million.

“This proposal expands existing service levels in DSS utilizing state funds, continues to focus on improvements to the technology infrastructure, maintains funding for public schools, funds the employee compensation plan and provides funding for an effort to determine a dedicated funding stream for shoreline protection,” Hardy said.

Brunswick County Schools 

The budget includes an allocation of $34.49 million to Brunswick County Schools, which was based on the board’s longstanding funding agreement with the Brunswick County Board of Education. Following a heated discussion on the matter, a divided school board decided 3-2 to adopt the agreement with the county at a meeting last month.

Read related story: Divided Brunswick school board approves county funding agreement

“The county is recommended to enter into a funding agreement with the Brunswick County Board of Education through June 30, 2017,” Hardy said. “The terms of the agreement are substantially identical to prior agreements. The requirements are for the county to provide 36.5 percent of the ad valorem tax revenue to the schools for operating expenditures less the portion of the tax rate dedicated to pay debt service.”

Click here to view the full budget.