Proposed County Budget Includes Lower Property Tax Rate, Higher Fees

Johnston County Manager Rick Hester

Johnston County residents would pay slightly less property taxes under County Manager Rick Hester’s proposed 2021-2022 fiscal year budget. The $282 million spending plan includes a one cent reduction in the property tax rate from 76 to 75 cents per $100 valuation. For a resident with a $200,000 home, the reduction will save them $20 next year.

The budget is shown at $282 million, Hester said, however, $14 million of that is due to anticipated revenues exceeding expenses, the difference of which must be placed in an expense account. The additional funds are earmarked for the General Fund outlay account. “With that said, the actual anticipated expenses for this proposed budget is $268 million,” Mr. Hester said in his budget summary message. The current 2020-21 budget is $253 million.

The County projects to have a 50 percent fund balance by June 30, 2021, or approximately $134 million in cash reserves.

The 2021-2022 proposal includes a new debt service payment for the final $36 million 2018 bond referendum for Johnston County Public Schools and Johnston Community College. Funds are also included for the first installment of the proposed Public Safety Center Phase Two project, which would be located on the same site as the new detention center on Highway 70 East. Phase Two would include a new building to house the Sheriff’s Office, 911 Communications and Emergency Services.

School Funding
The budget proposal includes $72.5 million for Johnston County Public Schools, over $7 million less than the $79,927,090 requested by the school board. Additionally, JCPS sought $2,962,000 for capital improvements. Hester has recommended giving $1.2 million for the capital projects, less than half the amount requested. (JCPS will have a projected $20 million in reserve funding by June 30, 2021 due to excess federal CARES Act funding and reduced expenses during the pandemic.)

Johnston Community College would receive $4,545,000 for current expenses and $454,756 for capital outlay during 2021-22.

County Employees
The budget package includes an across-the-board pay increase of 2.1 percent in July 2021 for county employees plus an additional performance (merit) pay adjustment of up to 1.5 percent in September. In previous years, performance pay began in October. The new budget moves that up to September.

There are several dozen new positions being added in the next fiscal year with 28 of those being for new EMS workers as Johnston County takes over contract EMS agencies in Four Oaks and 50-210 on July 1. Hester said a significant portion of the expenses of the 28 new EMS workers will be offset by medical billing that had previously gone to the contracted agencies.

The Department of Social Services had requested 14 new positions. Ten are included beginning July 1st and the remaining four positions potentially later in the fiscal year if funds are available. The county would receive partial federal reimbursement for some of the positions.

Another position requested is for Human Resources. Five new position are included in Public Utilities.

Fee Increases
Johnston County public water customers would see their base rates increase from $19/month to $21/month and water rates go from $3.90 per 1,000 gallons to $4.15 per 1,000 gallons. Base sewer rates would increase from $30 to $31/month and sewer treatment fees go from $6.55 to $6.90 per 1,000 gallons.

The Department of Solid Waste is requesting a $3 per ton tipping fee increase at the Landfill and a $3 increase in the minimum weigh ticket transaction from $5 to $8. There is no increase in the $100 trash decal fee to use any of the convenience sites. The convenience site fees are scheduled to be eliminated in the summer of 2023.

No increases in water and sewer tap fees are proposed in 2021-2022, according to Mr. Hester.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Folks the Johnston County Commissioners knew what was going to be in Mr. Hester budget. Trust me on this, when the board went Republican years ago and Mr. Hester replaced Richard Self there has never been more of a professional yes man to this board. Now think of it this way, the school board comes out with a high number and the commissioners knew that their number would be high so that they can look as if they put them back in their place by cutting it what a measly 7 million dollars and they are keeping 20 million in the bank? The school board can lose 7 million dollars and never be asked where it went? This is the way the game is played and this proves to you that these two boards are hand holding behind the Tax Payers back. These so-called conservative commissioners will be coming out of the closet so to speak and showing their true progressive liberal colors on the the first Monday of the month.

    Now let me get on the property tax cut, I think back and remember commissioner Braswell tried to own he cut our property tax rate too in the past. Anyone that owns property knows that the revaluation raised what you wrote that check for to the Tax Office the last time right? How many of you Johnston County Property Tax Payers wrote a smaller check with the last property rate decrease? Let me guess, and you want write a smaller check with this rate decrease ether. Folks remember these professionals will through out the phrase the numbers don’t lie. Please, I am not directing this at Mr. Hester by saying this but we lived here long enough to know how it works. When you want to make the number work, a lair will use numbers too.

    What is really disappointing is that we had a commissioner get elected by a thin margin from the Clayton area by pounding his conservative chest and had others commenting on here how conservative he is. I will make a guess he might vote against this budget but the budget is passed just as sure as your reading this. Tax Payers don’t let it get you down, remember that ultra thin vote margin that kept the commissioner in office from the Benson area? The Johnston County Tax Payers just got WOKE!

    Now what about those regular Johnston County Employees that these commissioners just couldn’t quite find a way to get to get very much over that 2 percent across the board cost living raise? I found Raleigh cost of living 5.1 and Wilson 4.4 so I know how you regular Johnston County Employees feel right about now. I think the commissioners will feel the stares as they walk the County Court House Halls, so will Mr. Hester.

    Here is my final analogy, Do you know what one Johnston County Commissioner yelled out of the dump truck window to the other Johnston County Commissioner that was dumping his load of millions of tax dollars at the Johnston County School Board in Smithfield? HEY MR. CHAIRMAN I WANT TO MAKE A MOTION THAT WE GET BIGGER DUMP TRUCKS TO DO THIS WITH, IT WILL PAY FOR IT SELF IN THE END DON’T YOU THINK!!!!

    • JCPS classified employees don’t get any raises, let alone cost of living or merit based, ever. Where’s your outrage for that like you expressed here for the county workers?

      • That means we have to unseat half of the commissioners and half of the school board then. I don’t mind paying taxes to fund what is needed, but it is just the lack of stewardship that both these boards are lacking. We have commissioners that turns a blind eye to missing funds. Your raises are at Hwy 70 business in Smithfield, going into the pockets of who knows who.

  2. A 1 cent reduction in property taxes. WHAT AN INSULT to the citizens of Johnston County for a savings of $20 a year on a $200,000 house. Then to add to the insult, they increase water and sewer rates a minimum of $3.55 a month. Guess they have to pay for the recent mismanagement at the water and sewer department. And I’m sure somewhere in this budget there’s money to line the pockets of the Johnston County good old boys network 🤬

  3. Taxation is theft, and he first step on the road to SOCIALISM. The county-wide property tax should be eliminated, and we should all pay only for the services we use! At-use fees are all that’s needed.

  4. The commissioners that are up for re-election in 2022 are Chad Stewart, Patrick Harris and Butch Lawter. Now they think you Johnston County Tax Payers are so ignorant that you will believe they really cut your property taxes, but when the last revaluation by the Tax Office raised your property taxes by 11 percent in the real world. Let’s make a bet folks, which Johnston County Commissioner is going to brag about cutting your taxes two years in a row first? And which ones is going to stay quite about the missing money they replaced that disappeared from the school budget? 11 percent increase of free money.

    https://jocoreport.com/county-property-tax-rate-up-11-percent-under-budget-proposal/

    https://jocoreport.com/in-4-1-vote-commissioners-approve-school-funding-bailout/

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