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Dare 2022 budget available for review; public hearing Monday

The Dare County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing for the proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22 at 9:15 a.m. on Monday, June 7, 2021. The public hearing will take place at the commissioners’ meeting room, which is adjacent to the Dare County Administration Building located at 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive in Manteo.

In-person comments may be offered during the public hearing in Manteo, and public comments will also be accepted in-person at the Fessenden Center Annex, which is located at 47013 Buxton Back Road in Buxton.

Dare County Manager Bobby Outten presented the county’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 to the Dare County Board of Commissioners at the board’s meeting Monday, May 17, 2021.

The recommended budget includes no property tax increase, with the property tax rate to remain at 40.05 cents, and supports current levels of service provided by county departments, states a media release from Dare County.

At a budget retreat held in May, the Board of Commissioners provided the following six strategic areas of focus: long-term financial planning for capital, economic development (including beach nourishment and essential/workforce housing initiatives), education, human resources, maintaining all current levels of services and maintaining a minimum unassigned fund balance in the county’s General Fund of 21 percent of General Fund revenues.

Although the proposed budget does not include a property tax increase, it recommends that the sanitation levy for unincorporated Dare County increase to 9.0 cents from 8.86 cents in fiscal year 2022 and to 9.25 cents in fiscal year 2023. As tipping fees and operating costs – particularly truck maintenance – have grown at a higher rate than the taxable property base, the sanitation fund has been appropriating the fund balance each year to balance the Public Works budget but is nearing the end of that capability. In order to reduce ongoing maintenance costs on aging equipment, several pieces of sanitation equipment and vehicles will be financed all at once for a 59-month period rather than the traditional practice of financing two trucks over a 36-month period.

The water rate model update for fiscal year 2022 has been completed, and fiscal year 2022 will have a 2 percent rate increase for Dare County water customers to provide the funding for a variety of recommended water capital projects for 2022, including continuation of the automated meter reading system, membrane replacements, generator purchases, system upgrades and elevated tower maintenance and repainting, among others.

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