Durham County Proposes $889 Million Budget With Pay Raises for Employees and Teachers, Increased Property Taxes
Durham County’s proposed budget of $889 million would result in an increase in property taxes that would be used to boost pay for county employees and public school teachers. On Monday night, County Manager Kimberly Sowell presented her recommended budget to the Board of County Commissioners, which would represent a 12.1% increase from the current fiscal year budget. Sowell believes her recommended budget is the result of targeted decisions that provide the best county investments.
If the manager’s proposal passes, the tax rate would increase by 3 cents to 75.22 cents per $100 of assessed property value. For a $400,000 house (the current median), county taxes would rise by approximately 4% or $120, to around $3,000. Half the county tax increase would go towards funding new buildings and renovations for Durham Public Schools, Durham Technical Community College, and the Museum of Life and Science through bonds, while the other half would be allocated towards increased spending for other county services.
The proposed budget includes a $10.8 million increase in local money for Durham Public Schools, which would give teachers and staff raises, with employees receiving at least a 4% salary increase, as well as better retirement and health insurance benefits. The budget would also allocate $18.6 million towards pay raises for all county employees, including a 7% increase to fulfill a compensation study recommendation, as well as 3% to 4% merit increases.
The budget must be approved before the start of the fiscal year on July 1, with a public hearing scheduled for May 22 and the county commissioners scheduled to approve the budget on June 12.