This year will be the 19th time Johnston County Manager Rick Hester has put together a budget proposal for County Commissioners. Each year there are more moving parts and it gets tougher to balance the growing needs of the county with available revenue sources.
Hester took a break this week from his budget preparations to sit down with WTSB to update us on the 2017-18 budget. While all the numbers are still very preliminary, Hester said he can promise there will be no increase in the 78 cents property tax rate in his budget proposal that will be formally presented to commissioners at their June 5th meeting.
“We hope to firm the numbers up in the next 2 to 3 weeks,” Hester said. “The numbers are very preliminary at this point.”
Each county department has submitted their budget request to Hester’s office. Requests from Johnston Community College and Johnston County Public Schools will be received no later than May 15th.
Hester said he is working with county staff to project future growth, sales tax revenues, and other costs before finalizing his proposal. Even before the final numbers are in, Hester said he will not propose any increase in the property tax rate.
Property taxes make up about 57 percent of the total revenue in the county budget. Sales taxes, state and federal funding make up the majority of the remainder.
Human Services, which includes the Department of Social Services, Health Department and Mental Health, along with Education comprise more than half of the expenditures.
2016-17 Johnston County Budget Expenditures
General Government – 8.93%
Public Safety – 16.12%
Physical Development – 4.23%
Human Services – 23.33%
Education – 29.64%
Debt Service – 17.75%
Johnston County is one of the largest employers in the County with approximately 1,125 employees.