$4.2 million cut from Dare’s budget

Published 8:58 am Monday, May 18, 2020

On Friday morning, May 8, Dare County’s commissioners took a look at a dismal budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

Revenues are projected to plunge due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

County manager Robert L. Outten called the budget “flat.”

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Before the virus shut down Dare County, department heads submitted asking budgets showing $3.4 million increase.

Then the virus hit and, as a result, certain revenues are projected to drastically decline. Responding to a second request, department managers cut their budgets.

Overall, $4.2 million was cut from the budget with $1.6 million coming from the department budgets, $1.9 million cut from capital improvement and $707,000 from the general fund undesignated account. The $707,000 is the amount above the 21% target for the undesignated fund balance.

After revaluation, the county is required to set a revenue neutral rate. That neutral rate is 40.05 cents per $100 of valuation. That’s an almost 7 cent reduction to produce the same amount of revenue as was generated before revaluation. Sanitation Fund revenue neutral rate is 8.86 cents per $100 of valuation.

The Tax Assessment Department expects the total property valuation to be reduced 5% by appeals. The tax collection rate was reduced by one percent to 98.5%.

For sales tax, second quarter revenue is expected to be down between 25% and 30%. In the third quarter, revenue will be down between 9% and 10%

Occupancy tax collections in March were down 32%. Occupancy tax collections in April are projected to be down 95%, in May -85%, and June -50%.

Other revenue streams expected to be down are building permits, Register of Deeds revenue stamps and interest income.

Outten described the revenue projection as the “best guess.” If the revenue loss is not as severe, numbers can be upped. If worse, a review in November and December gives six months to slow down spending.

“That’s the plan,” said Outten.

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