The recommended budget is $187.78 million, which is a $14.56 million or 8.41% increase over the current budget. The budget is balanced with a $9.3 million appropriation from the county’s fund balance, which is $3.1 million less than last year’s approved fund balance appropriation.
The property tax rate will remain the same at 65.75 cents per $100 valuation.
The budget will utilize $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding and $3 million from a property sale to cover a number of expenditures, including $2.1 million bond issuance for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to build new facilities, about $3.5 million in principal and interest for $55 million in debt for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, $1.5 million for an increase in operating expenses for RSS and about $881,000 in principal and interest for an agricultural center at West End Plaza.
Accounting for rising consumer prices, the budget includes a 9.4% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for county employees. If the Consumer Price Index exceeds 9.99% over the past year in November, an additional 1.6% COLA will be effective Jan. 1. County Manager Aaron Church said raising the COLA significantly is an effort to retain employees. The county had 89 vacancies, of which 36 were public safety positions, in April.
The budget is also counting on sales tax revenue to remain strong and for the county-wide property revaluation, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2023, to generate significant future revenue.
Operation funding for local schools included in the budget:
• $4.27 million for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
• $38.2 million for Rowan-Salisbury Schools
• $2.89 for Kannapolis City Schools
• $2.2 million for charter schools
The proposed budget is available online at https://www.rowancountync.gov/DocumentCenter/View/33446/Fiscal-Year-2022-2023-County-Managers-Proposed-Budget-PDF. The budget is available for inspection at the clerk to the board of commissioners, Room No. 202 located on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building, 130 W. Innes St.
The board will likely take action on the budget after the public hearing. The budget will go into effect July 1.
Commissioners will meet Monday at 6 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building. The meeting will also be broadcasted online at https://bit.ly/rowanboc6pm. The password is 028144. The meeting can be joined by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299, 213-338-8477.
Also on the agenda
• Commissioners will consider a request from Red Rock Development for the rezoning of approximately 384 acres located along the 1700-2300 block of Long Ferry Road from rural agricultural and rural agricultural with an agricultural overlay to commercial, business and industrial with a conditional district. Red Rock is planning to develop an industrial park that would include six buildings totaling 2.66 million square feet. Commissioners have already agreed to give Red Rock a $4.2 million incentive agreement to build out infrastructure at the site.
• Commissioners will consider signing off on an agreement between Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office for deputies to provide security at the college’s north campus. The current salary is estimated around $44,000 and will be reimbursed by the college every six months. RCCC also plans to use part-time officers for security as needed at a rate of $30 per hour paid directly to the officer by the college.
• The South Rowan High School baseball team will be recognized for winning the state championship.
• Commissioners will consider authorizing Rowan Public Library to apply for a Bright Ideas Grant from the State Library of North Carolina to purchase a “Book Bike.” The tricycle would be used for community outreach at public events and festivals, according to the grant application.
• The library would like to apply for the Bright Ideas Grant, offered through the State Library of North Carolina, to secure funds for a custom-built library tricycle to support community outreach.
• Commissioners will consider establishing St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and Cemetery as a Rowan County historic landmark. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
• The board will consider renewing several Rowan County ambulance franchises, which is required every three years. The county plans to renew franchises for Med Trans Corporation, American TransMed, Rowan County Rescue Squad, Providence Ambulance and the Kannapolis Fire Department. Additionally, commissioners will consider granting a new franchise to Reliance Medical Transport. The renewal period will be from July 1 to June 30, 2023.