The mission of the Halifax County Board of Commissioners is to provide leadership and support for an effective county government that seeks to
enhance the quality of life for the people of Halifax County.
Call to Order Chairman Vernon J. Bryant
Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance
Adoption of the Agenda
Conflict of Interest Chairman Vernon J. Bryant
In accordance with the Halifax County Board of Commissioners Rules of Procedures and N. C. G. S. Sec.153A-44, it is the duty of every member present
to vote on all matters coming before the Board, unless there is a conflict of interest as determined by the Board or by law. Does any Board member have any known conflict of interest with respect to any matters coming before the Board today? If so, please identify the conflict and the remaining Board members will vote to consider the requested excuse.
Honorable Vernon J. Bryant, Chairman Halifax County Board of Commissioners
Dear Chairman Bryant and Board of Commissioners:
In accordance with the Local Government Budget Fiscal Control Act, I am again honored to present our comprehensive spending plan for Halifax County
Government for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021. Further, it fulfills my obligation to present a balanced fiscal plan to you and the citizens of the great county of Halifax. With your insight and direction, this document represents a continuation of the many important County services we provide in the most cost-effective manner possible.
We have been slowly recovering from a recession since 2007. Unbeknownst to us, we would be facing a new and unprecedented challenge in the spring of
2020 with the onset of COVID-19, or the Coronavirus. Fortunately Halifax County is in a good fiscal position to face this unknown challenge with our Fund Balance should the economy take an extended downturn.
Since my tenure began almost 13 years ago, Halifax County has met the financial goals necessary to be awarded an A+ bond rating. Additionally, our
exceptional Finance Department has been the recipient of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) award for the past 20 years in a row, which continually shows the professional level of service we strive to provide to our citizens. I continue to be amazed and proud of the wonderful staff in our Finance Department. Our citizens are lucky to have such a dedicated staff whose commitment is obvious each and every day.
As we have done every year of my tenure in the County Manager s Office, we begin our process much earlier than most other local governments. Our
staff began working on this budget in the fall of 2019 analyzing our many operational, service and capital needs. This process included a detailed capital planning process, as well as input from the Board of Commissioners during its retreat in December 2019, which culminated with the Board of Commissioners direction during our April 2020 Budget Work Sessions. I would like to extend a special thanks to our management team, elected officials, department/agency directors and also our educational partners for their continued dedication to a conservative and fiscally responsible approach in this budget process. As always, this budget strives to meet the Board of Commissioners mission, which is to Provide leadership and support for an effective county government that seeks to enhance the quality of life for all the people of Halifax County.
As with most rural county governments in North Carolina, we continue to have budget challenges with our ever-increasing expenses needs, but without
revenues keeping pace. However, I do remain optimistic and positive about the County s overall fiscal and economic outlook. We have a 59.54 ( 35,185,027) Fund Balance which is well above the 8 suggested by the N.C. Local Government Commission. A majority (61 ) of the 35,185,027 Fund Balance
is not available for general use (e.g. Restricted, Assigned, Committed Expenditures, etc.), thus limiting our cash-on-hand (Unassigned) funds to
13,701,295 in addressing any additional non- recurring needs in this budget. Again I compliment staff, with direction from the Halifax County Board of Commissioners, for creating the environment to allow us to have this healthy Unassigned Fund Balance amount.
We continue to utilize our same successful revenue-based budgeting process which has served us very well when we implemented it 20 years ago. This
revenue-based budget has allowed us to weather economic challenges that have occurred and will continue to occur in the future. Our conservative projections and fiscally responsible approach has allowed Halifax County to maintain a healthy overall General Fund Balance.
This year was a property tax revaluation year and the Halifax County Tax Office has done a tremendous job under the leadership of Tax Assessor Shane
Lynch and Tax Collector Doris Hawkins. Our revaluation process is designed to be fair to all property owners in Halifax County so everyone can pay their fair share to support our community needs. The Tax Office has also done an outstanding job in explaining the process so our tax payers clearly understand their tax bill and the rationale for any value adjustments that occurred.
Halifax County has always had challenges in being able to provide services to its citizens while keeping the property tax rate low. Compared to our
nearby counties, we continue to have one of the lowest property tax rates and of the ten most distressed (Tier 1) counties in North Carolina, Halifax County has the lowest property tax rate as noted by the charts below:
I again commend not only this Board of Commissioners on your budget oversight, but also our staff in each department for their ability to adapt to
our ever-changing economic situation. Our staff remains committed to providing efficient and effective service to our citizens at the lowest cost to all taxpayers. I continually remind our citizens in my various conversations throughout the community, we are taxpayers as well and also wish to keep our tax burden low.
We have improved each year since the 2007 recession. We have experienced growth in some of our major revenue streams. Unfortunately our year-to-date
sales tax revenue has decreased 6.5 compared to this time last year, so we have decreased our sales tax revenue projections for FY2020-2021. Based on the many challenges we continue to face, I am impressed we are still able to maintain a good collection rate of 97.0 . With our healthy Fund Balance, I am confident we will have the ability to absorb any potential shortfalls in the budget should the economy take a severe downturn.
Despite Halifax County s Tier 1, we do maintain a very strong budget. I tribute our superb team to making this happen. In addition to the Tax Office,
I commend Sheriff Wes Tripp and his staff as well as County Attorney Glynn Rollins and his staff in going above and beyond in working with tax payers in establishing payment plans to aid citizens and minimize hardships. We are not required to do this but we do in order to support our citizens while respecting the challenges they
We continue to have positive motion in our economic development efforts. I applaud the Board of Commissioners forward-thinking and proactive approach
in continuing to position the County to create well-paying jobs in the future. We have experienced slight growth, but with delays based on the pandemic. With the N.C. Department of Transportation s roadwork in the Roanoke Rapids area, the extension of Premier Boulevard to Highway 125 and of American Legion Road to Premier Boulevard, this will be a prime area for additional growth in the county. Along with support from our Economic Development Commission, its Executive Director and the County Commissioners positive approach, we are poised to have additional growth in our local economy.
Based on our sound approach to our budgets each year, the County s financial situation is stable and in line with the requirements dictated by the
N.C. Local Government Commission. I am proud that we have had sound budget practices over my last 13 years as your County Manager and over the last 18 years in this office. This budget allocates 1,029,700 from our Fund Balance to cover additional human capital needs, general capital needs and also to assist non-profits in their support of our community needs. This use of Fund Balance and tax rate adjustment is in addition to maintaining the cuts and reductions made by our departments over the last eleven fiscal years. Despite the use of Fund Balance, our audited Total Fund Balance as of June 30, 2019 was 59.54 , well above the N.C. Local Government Commission s suggested 8 level.
As required by the State of North Carolina, all counties with multiple graded school districts are required to support each district equally as to
local current expense funding based on each district s average daily membership (ADM). Counties must also provide funding for school capital needs. This year s budget provides additional capital funding for our public schools and community college totaling 560,000. The specific funding amounts are broken down as follows:
Halifax Community College ................................................ 110,000 Halifax County Schools
....................................................... 150,000 Roanoke Rapids Graded School District ........................... 150,000 Weldon City Schools ............................................................ 150,000
This additional money resulted from sales tax revenues collected and distributed to the County based on G.S. 105-524 (Article 44). The current
allocation is the result of collections over the past year. Going forward each fiscal year, the Halifax County Board of Commissioners will determine whether and how to appropriate these Article 44 funds, which are limited to economic development, public education or community college purposes.
This additional money resulted from additional sales tax revenues distributed to the County pursuant to G.S. 105-524 (the hold harmless provisions
related to the repeal of the former Article 44 sales tax). The current allocation is the result of sales tax collections over the past year. Going forward each fiscal year, the Halifax County Board of Commissioners will determine whether and how to appropriate these Article 44 hold harmless revenues, which are limited to economic development, public education or community college purposes.
Even with continued reductions the County made during the recession, we have been able to maintain our service levels to meet the needs of our
citizens; county departments continue to operate in a cost-effective manner. We have had staff reductions in both the Health Department over the years as well as in Public Utilities. The staff and I are committed to evaluating our programs and will continue to pursue cost-saving measures to get the biggest bang for our tax dollars. We will always strive to be efficient in the service we provide to our citizens.
Historically we have had difficult budget situations in Halifax County, the past few years of this budget planning process have been especially
challenging in playing catchup on addressing needs that have been delayed based on our reduced revenues during the recession years. However, even today, there are unknowns in the areas of lottery revenues, sales tax distributions, allowable 9-1-1 fund expenses, Beer Wine Tax, Medicaid Transformation, as well as many others that could affect this and upcoming budgets.
This proposed budget does show the County s commitment to providing excellent services to its citizens. However, this budget only addresses items of
which we, the County, have full control. There will always be the potential for changes from both the Federal and State Government as we progress to a new normal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff and I will continue to work diligently with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) in communicating our concerns to both our State and Federal Legislators to ensure they are fully educated and aware of the potential implications of their decisions on Halifax County.
Finally, I applaud this Board of County Commissioners for recognizing the value of our Human Capital . It was never more evident how valuable our
employees were until we had to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. This pandemic shows the true commitment our employees have to protecting our citizens, especially those most vulnerable to the ill effects of the virus. I am
extremely honored over the commitment we have from our employees and the services we proudly provide. I would like to give a special thanks to Public
Health Director, Bruce Robistow, for his untiring efforts to keep the public not only safe, but well informed. Our employees stepped up to the challenge and did a wonderful job, but I want to give special thanks to our courageous Public Health Nurses they are the real heroes here and deserve special accolades in their handling of the pandemic. I also send kudos to our local hospitals and especially to our own Vidant North hospital.
As required by law, the budget will be available for public inspection in the Clerk to the Board s office and in all five County public libraries for
the required ten (10) days [due to COVID-19 limited access in county offices, please contact the Clerk s Office or the Library Branch to schedule an appointment to view a copy or to have a copy made]. A public hearing will be held on Monday, June 1st at 9:30 a.m. with a final adoption scheduled for Monday, June 15th at 9:30 a.m. After the May 18th meeting, the proposed budget will be available on the County s website at www.halifaxnc.com.
I thank you for the opportunity you have given me to be a public servant to this great community we call Halifax County. I appreciate your support,
guidance and encouragement as I and staff continue to grow in our service to our citizens. It continues to be a rewarding experience to work with our dedicated County employees who always amaze me with their ability to do more with less while maintaining their commitment to working hard and serving our Halifax County citizens. I would especially like to thank the strong support that I received from our core budget team: Deputy County Manager, Dia Denton; Finance Director, Mary Duncan; the former Human Resources Management Director, Renee Perry; County Attorney, Glynn Rollins and our former Senior Management Analyst, Ian Bumgarner. These team members are the gas and oil to our Halifax County Government budget engine. I also want to additionally thank all our employees with their can-do attitude. Knowing our challenges, our employees do have an efficiency mindset and continue to look for ways to improve while still providing a phenomenal level of service; this strong sense of public service is proven to me daily in my interactions with all of our great employees. It is always my desire to provide strong leadership and take a fiscally sound approach to maintaining and improving the quality of life for our citizens. Our goal in Halifax County is to provide a better place to live, work, play and improve life for all of our residents. As has been our catch phrase over the last 10+ years Working Together Works and I m honored to be a part of a team that practices and lives out the meaning of these words every day. On behalf of our 576 citizen servants, I am honored to present this proposed budget to the Halifax County Board of Commissioners for FY 2020-2021 and stand ready to assist you in continuing to move the County forward.
Be it ordained by the Halifax County Board of Commissioners that for the Social Services 5,657,096 purpose of financing the operations of Halifax
County for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021, there are hereby appropriated from taxes EDUCATION 10,895,801 and other revenue the following amounts: Schools Current Expense 5,587,231
Halifax Community College Other CE-Inst Support - Section 1. The following amounts are hereby appropriated in the General Fund for Halifax Community
College Plant Fund 179,027 the operation of the county government and its activities for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021, in accordance with the charts of accounts PUBLIC SAFETY 14,206,098 heretofore established for this County: Central Communications 962,461
Reimbursement from State-DWI 6,000 Notwithstanding the appropriation for Outside Funding Recipients , if it is Municipal Tax and Fee Collections
375,000 determined that there is no statutory authority for the county to engage in the activity funded for the outside funding recipient, or that the funding of such activity is not PERMITS AND FEES 806,050 authorized by law, then such appropriation shall be void. All outside funding Building Inspection Fees 200,000 recipients shall execute a grant agreement with the County before funding Farmers Market 1,400 is received. Elections Revenue/Filing Fees -
Section 3. The following amounts are hereby appropriated in the Reassessment Section 7. The following amounts are hereby appropriated for the Drug
Fund for the future revaluation of property in Halifax County during the fiscal year Enforcement Fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and ending beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021, in accordance with the chart of June 30, 2021, in accordance with the chart of accounts heretofore accounts heretofore established for this county: established for this county:
TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUES 200 Section 5. The following amounts are hereby appropriated for Unemployment Insurance for the fiscal year beginning July
1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021, Section 9. The following amounts are hereby appropriated for the Drug in accordance with the chart of accounts heretofore established for this county: Task Force Fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and ending
TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUES 350,000 TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUES 16,000
Section 11. The following amounts are hereby appropriated for the Controlled Section 14. It is estimated that the following revenues will be
available for the Substance Tax Fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and ending Federal Asset Forfeiture Fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 June 30, 2021, in accordance with the chart of accounts heretofore established and ending June 30, 2021: for this county:
Capital Outlay 60,000 TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUE 32,000
TOTAL APPROPRIATIONS 361,539 Section 13. The following amounts are hereby appropriated for the Federal Asset Forfeiture Fund for the fiscal year
beginning July 1, 2020 and ending Section 16. It is estimated that the following revenues will be available for the June 30, 2021, in accordance with the chart of accounts heretofore established Emergency Telephone System for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 for this county: and ending June 30, 2021:
Section 25. The following amounts are hereby appropriated for the Solid TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUES 80,000 Waste Electronics Management Fund operations
for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021, in accordance with the chart of accounts Section 29. The following amounts are hereby appropriated for the Water heretofore established for this county: Department Fund operations for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and
and ending June 30, 2021: TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUE 6,581,183
Transfer General Fund 108,000 Section 31. The following amounts are hereby appropriated for the Phase XI Interest Earned - Water Revenue Bonds - Debt
Service Fund operations for the fiscal year Fund Balance - beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021, in accordance with the chart of accounts heretofore established for this county: TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUES 108,000