Catawba County News
Commissioners Adopt Fiscal Year 2023/24 County Budget
Published: June 06, 2023
On June 5, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners adopted a Fiscal Year 2023/2024 budget of $299,776,474 effective July 1, 2023. Commissioners set a tax rate of 39.85 cents per $100 in valuation, which is below the revenue neutral rate of 39.95 cents per $100 in valuation and a 30.7% reduction in the current rate of 57.5 cents per $100 in valuation.
County Commission Chairman Randy Isenhower noted, “Coming through the statutorily-required 2023 real property revaluation, we saw significant market-driven increases throughout the county in real estate values. Early on, Commissioners directed staff to achieve a tax rate at or below the revenue neutral rate so as not to unduly burden our citizens.”
The rate of 39.85 cents per $100 in valuation is significantly lower than the statewide average for counties and well below the next lowest recommended tax rate among the surrounding 11 counties. Catawba County is the only local government unit in Catawba County that set a tax rate below the calculated revenue neutral rate.
“We were able to establish a much lower tax rate due to the conservative practices of our board, good work of staff, and most importantly the investments of our citizens and businesses,” said Isenhower.
The approved budget invests in core services and maintains a focus on key elements of the Commissioners’ strategic plan to maintain long-term economic growth and quality of life. Highlights of the budget include:
- Reduced Tax Rate: Anticipated to sustain the County’s operating and capital needs until the next revaluation, the rate currently ranks as the lowest in the region and preserves Catawba County’s long-standing position of having a rate well below statewide and peer county averages.
- Education: Supporting local public education with a 5 percent increase in total per-pupil funding; $11.3M in school capital funding spread across the 3 public school systems; $15.9M in planned construction projects at Maiden Middle School, Maiden Elementary School and Newton-Conover High School; $200K in matching funds for the CVCC K-64 Scholars Program; a set-aside of $1.1M for future Chromebook replacement through the K-64 initiative; and the addition of a full-time Juntos Coordinator in collaboration with Catawba County Schools.
- Public Safety: Providing additional support to the Sheriff’s Office through four elementary School Resource Officers to achieve one per school in collaboration with Catawba County Schools; increasing the night shift pay differential for patrol and detention officers to incentivize retention; providing a digital storage system for narcotics evidence; and addressing inflationary increases in safety equipment, jail medical services, jail maintenance, juvenile housing, fuel, and vehicle replacements
- Emergency Services: Enhancing emergency medical response with an EMS specialty services dispatcher position and EMS extra duty pay to aid in retaining qualified staff; adding a Veteran Services office support specialist to help expedite increased service needs in the community; addressing inflationary increases in ambulance replacement, cardiac monitor replacement, fuel, and medical supplies; and setting aside $150K toward EMS base construction.
- Economic Development: Fostering a positive business climate through a reduced tax rate; expanding capacity through investments in key water and sewer infrastructure; supporting increased building activity with investments in Building Services and the addition of a new GIS mapping technician position.
- Compensation: Ensuring the County maintains a high quality of service by remaining a competitive employer through a market-based pay plan adjustment of 4% and maintaining a stable benefits package.
The adopted budget is available online at www.catawbacountync.gov.