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With no speakers signing up to address Halifax County’s proposed $58,074,082 budget for the upcoming fiscal year during a public hearing this morning, commissioners will go to the next phase with the anticipated adoption of the financial plan on June 17.

That meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the board of commissioners room at the Historic Courthouse on King Street in Halifax.

County Manager Dia Denton said before the opening of the public hearing there were no changes in the proposed budget from the board’s last meeting in May.

As a result of the recent property revaluation the proposed tax rate will be 70 cents per $100 of value.

The budget allocates $3,944,228 from the fund balance to fund the next fiscal year's approved capital for county departments. 

An additional $644,000 of fund balance will cover the costs of additional one-time bonuses to full-time and eligible part-time employees. 

The commissioners approved awarding full-time employees $1,000 bonuses and $500 bonuses to eligible part-time employees, payable in July. 

This year's budget provides additional capital funding for the county’s public schools and community college totaling $784,000. 

The budget Is based on an estimated property tax base of $4,542,124,542 and a tax collection rate of 97.5 percent. 

The budget absorbs a 17 percent increase in property and liability insurance coverage.

To maintain a healthy workforce, the budget continues to provide a competitive benefits

package, which includes 100 percent paid premiums for health coverage for each full-time employee who participates in the county's wellness program.

The budget maintains the longevity pay program which the county said is a vital employee retention tool to reward long-term full-time employees.

The budget funds the pay-for-performance evaluation plan, another retention tool.

The budget continues a hiring freeze, previous staff reductions and travel restrictions, which will remain in effect throughout this budget year.

The budget includes funds to support both economic development and contingency operations.

The budget continues to require employees to use county vehicles, when available, for

travel; this policy amounts to a savings of over 60 percent in travel costs versus paying mileage for use of personal vehicles.

The budget funds needed capital outlay for county departments.

The budget provides funding to a Community Grants program in the amount of $50,000. 

The budget implements a comprehensive salary study to increase the salaries of county staff to become more competitive with neighboring counties.

In fall 2022, Halifax County selected Piedmont Triad Regional Council to conduct a comprehensive pay study of employee salaries.

As a result every position in Halifax County was recommended to increase. Through adjustments the county was able to bring the minimum wage for a full-time position to $15 per hour, equating to a salary of $30,000 per year.