Friday, June 10 2022

County executive presents proposed budget for 2022-23

County Executive Rick French presented the proposed budget for 2022-23 to the Alexander County Board of Commissioners at the May 16 meeting. The proposed budget includes a property tax cut of 4 cents, which would reduce the tax rate to 75 cents per $100 of assessment, if approved. A public hearing to discuss the draft budget is scheduled for June 6, with the adoption of the budget scheduled for June 20.

“While we have not been able to meet all budget requests from county departments, the proposed budget for 2022-2023 includes many necessary elements that will benefit our citizens and employees,” said the director. of French County. “We hope the 4-cent tax cut can be achieved to ease the tax burden on our residents and businesses. I appreciate the assistance of the finance department in preparing this budget, and I look forward to working with the commissioners during the budget process.

French said the proposed General Fund budget is $52,385,587, compared to the 2021-22 budget which currently stands at $50,741,302. The proposed budget includes a restricted fund balance of $6.6 million.

According to the audit report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, the total county fund balance was $23,498,857. The fund balance available for allocation was $19,195,572. Thus, the percentage of the fund balance at June 30 was 46.16%. Part of the reason for the large fund balance is budgeted, but vacant, positions in several county departments — more than 20 unfilled jobs at last count.

The original General Fund budget approved last year (June 2021) for 2021-2022 was $45,927,097 and allocated a fund balance of $2,800,000, but currently stands at $50,741,302 with a balance restricted fund of $5,000,000.

The proposed budget does not include any tax increases in fire districts and no fee increases for building inspections, zoning or fire inspections. The City of Hickory is proposing a 3% water rate increase, pending Hickory City Council approval.

The recommended general fund budget includes a 5% cost-of-living increase for employees totaling $937,000, a $312,000 increase in general fund appropriations for volunteer fire departments, and an increase of $252,368 county credits for schools in Alexander County. Capital expenditures in the proposed budget include fiber/internet network expansion for some county facilities ($115,000), an alignment machine for the county garage ($55,000), four vehicles for the $244,000), furnace replacement at courthouse ($150,000), radio system/equipment replacement for 911 communications ($50,000), ambulance refit ($114,000), electric lift for EMS ($60,000), replacement of two DSS vehicles ($53,000), and roof replacement on the Sheriff’s Office Evidence Storage Building ($140,000).

New positions offered

The proposed budget includes the following new full-time employees: Assistant County Manager, Planner, Accounting Assistant – Payroll, License Plate Agency Staff Position, Paralegal, Environmental Health Staff Position, Dental Assistant, animal control officer and park assistant. Additionally, part-time or seasonal positions are recommended for the Parks and Recreation Department to work in the Wittenburg Access Zone and in the grounds of the Alexander County Courthouse.

French said the 2022-23 fiscal year will see the completion of two major utility projects – the Alexander County Water Expansion Project and the Bethlehem Sewer Expansion Project – which both started in fiscal year 2018-2019. These two projects will provide reliable services to citizens and businesses while improving economic development opportunities.

The county executive said the county is in the early stages of implementing projects funded by grants resulting from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The majority of ARPA funds received by the county will be used to build new water lines for unserved areas. In addition, the state budget approved grants for an elevated water storage tank in Bethlehem and a sewer extension along Rink Dam Road to Bowman Court.

A copy of the 2022-2023 draft budget is filed with the Clerk of the Commission and is available for public inspection.

In other cases:

• Commissioners approved an agreement with McGill Associates to provide professional engineering services to assist in the administration of state emergency emergency funds that have been awarded to Alexander County. The prize, totaling $174,287, will be used to clear storm debris from local waterways following damage caused by Tropical Storm Eta in November 2020. The scope of services includes preparation of tender documents, coordination of permits, tender phase services, construction phase services and grant assistance services estimated to cost $28,040, of which $24,040 $ will be funded by the grant. The remaining $4,000 will be taken from the county’s general fund.

• Commissioners approved an amendment to Section 7 of the County Personnel Policy regarding parental employment limitations. The policy originally read, “no immediate family member shall be employed in the same department”. The policy now states that “Employment of relatives within the same department at the same time should be avoided…exceptions may be granted, where necessary, in order to retain current employees or unless significant recruitment difficulties n ‘exist’.

The Alexander County Board of Commissioners generally meets the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in Room #103 of the CVCC Alexander Center for Education. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 6 at 6:00 p.m. Regular meetings are being recorded and can be viewed on the county’s government channel on the Spectrum 192 channel or on the county’s YouTube channel at Agendas, minutes, videos and more are available on the county’s website at


ExxonMobil to sell Barnett Shale assets for $750 million


Middle East assets under management set to grow after 52% gain

Check Also