Johnston County Manager Rick Hester released his proposed new fiscal year budget this afternoon.
The $220 million spending plan is up 4 percent from the current year but it still maintains the current property tax rate of 78 cents.
“Johnston County is a great place to do business and the continued expansion of local industries and businesses is anticipated. Increases in building permit activity and sales tax revenue are proof the local economy is improving,” Hester said. “Tens of thousands of people traveling through Johnston County stop every day and stay in hotels, shop and dine at local restaurants.”
“Recent statistics from the US Census show Johnston County is one of the fastest growing counties in the southeastern part of the United States,” Hester said in his budget message. “The County’s population is 192,000 and is expected to top 200,000 by early 2019.”
The 2017-18 budget includes money for the first payment on a $30 million loan to Johnston County School to make facility improvements. Discussions are currently underway between the County and school officials to hold a bond referendum in 2018. Since the 1999 bond referendum, $450 million in new projects have been planned and built with Johnston County Schools and Johnston Community College, all without raising taxes.
The budget includes an additional 3.1% for Johnston County Schools or an increase of $1.7 million to bring their funding to $58,604,953 this year. The school system had sought $65.9 million.
Johnston Community College would receive $4,319,859 under the budget proposal, 3.1% more than the current year.
County water customers would see their base rates increase from $15 to $16 per month. Water costs would increase from $3.25 to $3.45 per 1,000 gallons on July 1st. Base sewer rates would also go up from the present rate of $20 to $21 per month. Treatment costs would increase from $4.80 per 1,000 gallons to $5.10.
All county employees would see a 1.9 percent pay increase in July. Funds are included for performance pay adjustments up to an additional 1.1 percent in the Fall based on employee reviews.
Hester’s budget proposal include the hiring of 37 employees, the majority of those, 25 employees for Johnston County EMS when they assume the duties of Selma EMS on July 1st. Twelve additional county positions are included including 4 detention officers in the jail, 1 fire inspector for public schools, 1 emergency services logistics officers, 1 health inspector, 1 plumbing position for building and grounds, 2 water treatment plant operators, and 2 new utility maintenance employees.
Johnston County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on June 5th at 10:00am on the budget. They will hold budget workshops on June 12th at 6:00pm, June 19th at 6:00pm, and June 26th at 8:30am. The budget is expected to be adopted during the June 26th meeting.