Commissioners made several last minute changes to the budget proposal, but the tax rate of 78 cents will remain unchanged for another year.
The spending plan included eight new positions. Five for public utilities, two for 911 Communications, and one for the Register of Deeds office.
Johnston County Schools had requested $60.2 million. County Manager Rick Hester had proposed $54.2 million in funding. The Board added an additional $800,000 on Monday bringing school funding to $55 million, but still well short of what school officials had requested. Johnston Community College will receive $4,595,000 just slightly below their requested funding of $4,600,000.
County employees will receive a 2.25 percent cost of living increase effective July 1st.
Four employees who report directly to the Board were given higher pay raises. County Manager Rick Hester’s salary was increased from $157,081 to $167,000. Paul Woodard, Clerk to the Board will now make $57,000 up from $52,334. County Attorney Jennifer Slusser who was hired in the current fiscal year, will make $122,700 up from $120,000. Tax Administrator Sheila Garner will now be paid $97,000 up to $90,000.
The Board also appropriated $30,000 for the Benson County/Theatre Restrooms Project, $25,000 to Harbor, Inc., $3,000 to the Johnston County Arts Council, and increased the base paid to the 20 fire departments that provide first responder service from $5,000 to $5,500 each per year. The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council was given an additional one-time $18,000 to work specificially with Teenagers in Court Program.
Also Monday, commissioners approved a 1 cents increase in the Smithfield Fire Protect District Commission fire tax for unincorporated areas.
County Manager Rick Hester said estimated fund balance on June 30, 2016 will be 16%, above the board’s policy to maintain a 15% fund balance. The current fund balance is approximately 19 percent, Hester said.