Dozens gathered tonight to witness the passing of the Fiscal Year 2016-17 Annual Budget by the Durham Board of County Commissioners. Nearly one month after County Manager Wendell Davis presented his recommended budget, the five-member board voted unanimously (5-0) to pass a $587,305,721 annual spending plan that includes support for critical program and service delivery needs, increases funding for Durham Public Schools, provides operational increases for public safety, supports capital financing needs, annual debt service, and replaces and updates vital equipment and vehicles.
The BOCC agreed on a budget that does not require a tax increase and one that maintains fiscal standing. The tax rate will decrease 5.27 cents due to the recent revaluation process. The newly passed budgeted includes a revised revenue neutral rate from an original estimate of 73.30 cents to 74.04 cents per $100/valuation, due to lower valuation estimate.
The General Fund balance appropriation increased from $10.62 million to $13.24 million. Fund balance is largely for one time capital needs, rollover funding of previous year grants, and revenue support for the General Fund budget. Increases this year support some of the new initiatives approved by the BOCC in this budget such as 10 new positions for a new Mental Health pod at the Durham County detention center.
Durham Public Schools received a 3.59% increase that will support an increase of an estimated 739 students in DPS and Charter Schools and will enable $3,160 per pupil funding. Durham Technical Community College received an increase of $367,425 to support student scholarships and tuition costs. In further support of educational opportunities, the BOCC has designated an additional $40,000 or 2.52% for The Museum of Life and Science.
Looking forward, the County is preparing to place a bond referendum on the November 2016 ballot. If passed, the referendum package totaling $170 million will provide funding to Durham Public Schools, Durham Technical Community College, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science and Durham Public Library capital need.
The FY 2016-17 budget also includes increased funding to support the growing number of youth in foster care managed by the Durham County Department of Social Services. An additional $450,000 is included in the budget to support the hundreds of children in the care of Durham County DSS.
Ensuring that vehicles and equipment serving Durham County’s 300,000+ residents remain safe and ready to perform, the BOCC provided support for purchases and replacements of over 50 vehicles. Purchases included eight new vehicles and 43 replacement vehicles and new equipment for seven departments. Five new replacement ambulances and one additional ambulance for use during peak call periods during each day of the week.
The new budget cycle begins on July 1, 2016. To access the details of the FY 15-16 Durham County Budget Ordinance, go