NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – For the third straight fiscal year, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners adopted a budget lowering the property tax rate for residents. The framework for Fiscal Year 2023-24 (FY 23-24), which was approved at Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, will go into effect on July 1 and decreases the property tax rate by a half-cent, bringing the rate to 45 cents per $100 value.
“Continuing to provide and even grow the high level of services and amenities our residents have come to expect was the top priority for this upcoming budget, but we also wanted to see if it was possible to provide some financial relief to residents with a tax cut,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Bill Rivenbark. “We are grateful for the work of our county staff to help find a way to make that possible without impacting the overall commitment we are showing to our schools, public health and safety, quality of life initiatives and more.”
Supporting public education remains atop the Commissioners’ priority list, as well as housing that is affordable, mental health and substance use resources, investing in economic development, and planning for the future in smart and strategic ways. Some of the FY 23-24 budget highlights include:
- $128.7 million in funding for New Hanover County Schools, making up approximately 29 percent of the county’s General Fund. This figure meets the school system's request for ADM funding at $3,434 per student, maintains the teacher supplement at $9,000 and provides $10.2 million to address school capital needs. The FY 23-24 appropriation to the county schools represents an increase of $8.7 million, or 7.3 percent, over FY 22-23. Additionally, the county is continuing to support the schools in FY 23-24 by funding school resource officers, mental health therapists and school nurses at a budgeted cost to the county of more than $8 million.
- $23.9 million to Cape Fear Community College for operating expenses, capital outlay and debt service. This appropriation is in addition to the April 2023 $11.4 million purchase of the former Bank of America building in Downtown Wilmington to allow the college to expand its nursing program and $3.6 million budgeted for FY 23-24 to begin renovations to the building.
- Nearly $1.6 million in funding to fulfill 50 non-county agency funding requests, along with just over $1 million in funding for 14 economic development organizations.
- The second $3 million installment of a five-year, $15 million commitment to provide support for workforce housing initiatives throughout the county. A Request for Proposals to use this money will be developed and shared in the coming months.
- Approximately $15.2 million from the county’s Mental and Behavioral Health Fund and Revenue Stabilization Fund to support a continued tax rate decrease that was adopted last year, fund the continued work of the community building plan and fund programs that support the board-adopted Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Strategic Plan. In addition, funds from the opioid settlement will be used as part of this year’s budget to help further the county’s Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Strategy. More information about those investments is available by clicking here.
- Allocates $73 million for capital projects, including water/sewer infrastructure in the northern part of the county, trails along North and South College Road, work for the Northchase Library, the replacement of the Castle Hayne Fire Rescue station along with a new Fire Rescue facility on Gordon Road, and much more.
- For residents in the unincorporated portions of the county, it maintains the Fire Service District tax rate of 7.25 cents per $100 of assessed value and the Stormwater Services Utility Fee of $5.65 per equivalent residential unit per month.
- Maintains the landfill tip fee at $52 per ton, which will continue to cover operating costs and capital expenses, along with the creation of three new positions at the site.
The adopted budget's total spending plan is $588.3 million, and the general fund budget is $441.5 million.
The recommended FY 23-24 budget was presented to the Board of Commissioners during the May 15 meeting and a public hearing on the budget was held Monday, June 5. Following the public hearing, the Board of Commissioners approved the budget with several changes, which are outlined at this link.
The adopted budget in brief will be available at Finance.NHCgov.com in the coming weeks.