Catawba County News
Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Maintains Flat Tax Rate, Invests in Core Services
Published: June 05, 2019
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners voted June 3 to approve a County budget of $252.62M (a 1.1% increase from the current year) for Fiscal Year 2020. The budget maintains the current property tax rate of $0.575 per $100 of valuation, which remains the second-lowest tax rate among 11 neighboring counties. The full budget may be viewed online at http://catawbacountync.gov/county-services/budget-management/2019-20-budget/.
The FY2020 budget reflects the impact of the 2019 property revaluation, which shows an increase of overall market values since 2015. Maintaining the current tax rate of $0.575 yields 5.4% growth in revenue. Homeowners may or may not see a tax increase based on their assessed property values, with the average increase projected at $32 per year.
The FY202 budget focuses on core services for citizens and aligns with the Board of Commissioners’ strategic plan to drive economic and population growth and improve Catawba County’s quality of life. The budget includes major investments in the following areas:
- Education: Supporting local public education following districts’ funding priorities with a $78.6M investment (which includes 41.3 cents of every local tax dollar collected) reflecting a 3.6% increase in total per-pupil funding, a 7.8% increase in school capital funding, a 12.8% increase in school construction funding and a third-year $1.3M commitment to the collaborative K-64 initiative.
- Community Health & Safety: Protecting the well-being of citizens through a 14% increase in Sheriff’s Office funding, which includes expanded jail staffing (46 positions phased in across the year), body-worn cameras and $7M toward the long-planned 320-bed jail expansion; increased funding to Emergency Medical Services for expansion of paramedic crew coverage in the Conover area; and, at the request of fire district governing bodies, a recommended increase in four fire district tax rates to support critical fire and rescue response needs in the Hickory Rural, Catawba, Sherrills Ford-Terrell and Long View fire districts.
- Economic Development: Fostering a positive business climate by maintaining competitive tax rate; creating jobs through a $6.3M investment over four years in Trivium Corporate Center land acquisition and development in partnership with the City of Hickory and the Economic Development Corporation; and allocating set-aside funds to support employer recruitment through potential speculative building partnerships and new business park opportunities.
“This budget continues investments which have catalyzed economic growth and expanded opportunities and quality of life for our citizens,” said Catawba County Manager Mick Berry. “These investments are possible thanks to the County’s strong tradition of fiscal stewardship, conservative budgeting and collaborative leadership with our partners in the municipalities, schools, higher education and private sector.
“Catawba County’s strategic investments in education are coming to fruition, such as the increased access to technology, work based learning and character education shepherded by the K-64 initiative over the past few years,” Berry continued. “The Workforce Solutions Center, a state-of-the-art education facility developed over several years in collaboration with Catawba Valley Community College, is now actively preparing students for in-demand jobs in Catawba County.
“Catawba County continues to provide a great business environment, which has led to significant economic growth,” Berry added. “Our long-term investments in economic development continue to yield significant tax base growth and local jobs, most recently with two anchor tenants, Corning and ITM Technologies, bringing 247 jobs to the new Trivium Corporate Center.”