Durham’s county manager is pitching a three-cent property tax increase to help the county fund public schools, pay off debt, and keep up with operational growth.
The increase would raise property taxes for Durham County residents from 74.04 to 77.04 cents per $100 of property valuation. The annual tax bill for a home valued at $200,000 would go up by about $60, county manager Wendell Davis said during a presentation of his proposed $626.9 million budget Monday.
Of the three-cent increase, 0.75 cents would go to Durham Public Schools, 0.25 cents to operational growth, and 2 cents for debt related to a $170 million bond package voters approved in November. The increase would generate nearly $10.7 million in revenue for the next fiscal year.
The city of Durham is also proposing a property tax increase of 1.79 cents for the 2017–18 fiscal year, bringing the city’s property tax rate to 57.86 cents per $100 of valuation.
Education continues to be the largest share of the county’s budget. Davis is recommending $132.7 million for Durham Public Schools, an increase of about $4.76 million from the current fiscal year but $7.67 million less than the school system requested. Per-pupil spending would increase by $133. Davis is proposing that, beginning July 1, 2018, the county levy an additional one-cent in property tax to go toward universal pre-K.
Davis’s proposed budget would also fund about fifteen new positions, including school nurses, paramedics, a bilingual extension agent, a real estate coordinator, and IT personnel. The budget sets aside $900,000 for raises for paramedics and detention officers and $1.15 million for a countywide compensation study and any adjustments it may deem warranted.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for June 12 at seven p.m.