FAYETTEVILLE – County Manager Clarence Grier presented the Fiscal Year 2024 recommended annual budget to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners tonight. The recommended budget maintains the County’s current property tax rate of 79.9 cents per $100 valuation and includes funding to continue moving forward on the Board’s established priorities.
The balanced recommended budget includes just under $567 million in expenditures across all County funds, with $373 million appropriated for General Fund expenses, which represents a 3% increase over the FY2023 adopted budget.
Grier presented his recommended budget as the County continues to deal with the aftermath of the COVID-19 public health emergency, addressing challenges including opioid addiction and a mental health crisis, inflation and supply chain issues, and an upheaval of the labor market. He noted that the County must continue to provide vital services to residents “in a fiscally and financially sound manner as we commence many transformational initiatives and projects for our County.”
The recommended budget projects a 2.1% increase in property tax revenue and 3% growth in sales tax revenue, which is more in line with the growth the County was experiencing prior to the pandemic. The recommended budget includes a fund balance appropriation of $6.6 million, which is within the Board of Commissioners’ adopted policy thresholds. On the expenditure side, the recommended budget seeks to address state and federal mandates including an increase in employer contributions to the retirement system, higher costs of property and cybersecurity insurance, and a multi-year plan to align the county share of youth detention facility costs with operating costs.
The recommended 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
- $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 recommended 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:
- Funding for a 4% interim step/cost-of-living adjustment for County employees as a preliminary implementation step for the compensation plan
- $100,000 to provide $2,500 hiring bonuses for new Sheriff’s Deputies and Detention Officers
- $100,000 to provide $2,500 recruitment bonuses for current Sheriff’s Deputies and Detention Officers who recommend an employee who is hired as a Deputy or Detention Officer
Funding for other new initiatives in the FY2024 budget include:
$100,090 to fund an initiative to address disparities in Maternal Mortality
- $134,601 for a Healthy Conversations initiative to promote health education in barbershops and salons within Cumberland County to train barbers and stylists to advocate for positive health behaviors in areas that disproportionately impact Cumberland County residents
- $25,000 to create a coffee shop at West Regional Library to provide hands-on job learning and experience for young people and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
- $350,000 in one-time funding to support the Historic Orange Street School Restoration Project
The recommended budget also includes the following fee increases for the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund:
- Increasing the annual Solid Waste Fee from $56 to $130 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.
The recommended budget is available on the county’s website at cumberlandcountync.gov on the Budget Division department page. The Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget Wednesday, June 7 at 7 p.m. in Room 118 of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse at 117 Dick Street, Fayetteville. Citizens who wish to comment on the proposed budget during the public hearing may, but are not required to sign up prior to the start of the meeting. A sign-up sheet will be available in the room. Individuals may also call the Clerk to the Board at 910-678-7771 or to sign up.
According to North Carolina law, the Board may adopt the budget no earlier than 10 days after it is presented.
Approved FY2024 Budget Meeting Schedule
Budget Work Session* June 1 at 5:30 p.m. Room 564, Courthouse
*This Work Session was changed from May 31 to June 1.
Public Hearing June 7 at 7 p.m. Room 118, Courthouse
- A Budget Work Session may be held following the Public Hearing if needed.
Budget Work Session June 14 at 5:30 p.m. Room 564, Courthouse
Budget Work Session (if needed) June 15 at 5:30 p.m. Room 564, Courthouse