From the editorial pages of the Goldsboro News-Argus

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Smart strategy: Wayne County commissioners use common sense in budgeting

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners finds itself in the position of having to wait on the legislature to decide on a state spending plan before it can set a county budget.

Commissioners this week said they might have to increase the county tax rate slightly in order to ensure the county continues to receive its full amount of state funding for public schools. Wayne stands to lose up to $4 million from the state in low-wealth county money over the next two years if it fails to bring its tax rate in line with what the state says it should be in order to be eligible for the funding.

The county, by law, has to have a budget in place by the end of June, and once the tax rate is set it cannot be changed until the next budget. The legislature has longer to determine a state budget. Unless legislators hurry to put a budget in place, the county could have to approve an interim budget.

The question is what the state will do about low-wealth county funding. Commissioners are lobbying legislators to make a slight change in a provision in the House version of the budget that would exempt the county from having to come up with the extra money. The Senate is still debating the issue.

The tax increase would be small, but commissioners are extremely tight-fisted. Their willingness to consider increasing the tax rate, even slightly, shows they are not just thrifty but smart.

Published in Editorials on May 24, 2017 9:05 PM