In an exclusive interview with WTSB News on Wednesday, Johnston County Manager Rick Hester released the first glimpse of the 2016-17 fiscal year budget for Johnston County.
While many details of the budget are still being put together, Hester said his proposed spending plan that will be given to county commissioners will likely be between $208 and $209 million, up from the current 2015-16 budget of $202 million.
He will propose keeping the 78 cents property tax rate unchanged, while a slight increase is being proposed in the tipping fees at the Johnston County Landfill for yard and vegetative debris. Commissioners last year agreed to increase the decal fee for trash disposal at the county’s convenience sites from $65 to $100 starting July 1st.
Fourteen new positions will be added to the budget request including 7 additional workers at the Department of Social Services (DSS), 4 additional deputy sheriff’s, two 911 communications employees, and 1 new child support position. Hester said the 7 DSS employees would be eligible for a 75 to 100 percent reimbursement from the federal government. The child support positions would also be eligible for reimburse from the government.
The county currently has 1,134 full time employees. The county manager said he will likely propose a salary increase but an exact amount has not been determined.
The budget proposal will include between $800,000 and $900,000 to pay for the design of a new detention center. Commissioners have not made any authorization to proceed with the detention center but Hester said funds will be in place if they decide to move forward. The design work is expected to take 12 to 15 months. The county would have to borrow money to pay for construction of a new jail and the land.
Hester said he is still evaluating what might be in the proposal for funding for Johnston County Schools and Johnston Community College. He is expected to received their requests in the next few weeks.
The budget process began in late-February and plans are to complete the budget proposal and give it to commissioners sometime in late-May. A Public Hearing on the budget will take place on June 6th. Commissioners will then schedule two night meetings to discuss and examine the budget prior to its adoption before July 1st.
Hester said the proposal would also maintain a minimum fund balance of 15 percent.