Fiscal Year 2023-2024
The Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget was approved by a majority of the Board of Commissioners on Monday, June 5. It includes a half-cent tax decrease, bringing the county's property tax rate to 45 cents (from 45.5 cents in FY23). The adopted budget's total spending plan is $588.3 million, and the general fund budget is $441.5 million.
Below are the budget documents and presentations that provide an overview of the Fiscal Year 23-24 budget:
The budget helps to address current community needs, strategic initiatives, and board priorities like public education, workforce housing, public safety, community building, and equitable resources for residents. It also enhances some service levels, provides long-term funding for voter-approved debt and maintains fiscally responsible operations.
- Tax decrease & no fee changes: the county-wide tax rate is decreased by half a cent, bringing it to 45 cents per $100 of assessed value; and all fees remain unchanged.
- Investments in public schools: the total funding for public schools across all funding categories – current expense, capital, debt service and pre-k classrooms – is $128.7 million. This meets the school system at their ADM (per-student) request and also funds $10.2 million for school capital needs, which is $5.5 million over the previous year and will fund a significant amount of the school’s request with the remaining needs funded in subsequent years as their capacity to do the projects allows.
- Use of escrow funds from hospital sale: the budget includes a total of $15.2 million from the county’s Mental and Behavioral Health Fund and Revenue Stabilization Fund to support a continued tax rate decrease that was adopted last year, fund the continued work of the community building plan and fund programs that support the board-adopted Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Strategic Plan.
- Mental health and substance use disorder initiatives: new initiatives are being introduced in the recommended budget that further the county’s Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Strategy, utilizing the escrow fund as well as opioid settlement funds. The initiatives focus on education and outreach, access to services and treatment and sustainable recovery and wellbeing. More information about these investments can be viewed here.
- Affordable housing initiatives: furthering the county’s commitment to workforce housing initiatives, the budget includes $3 million in funding for year two of the Board’s 5-year, $15 million Workforce Housing Services Program to help increase the supply of residential units, retain existing affordable housing stock and increase residents’ access to those homes.
- Community building initiatives: investments continue to provide resources to students and families, including the Port City United Connect Center and school-based Community Resource Coordinators (who are trained community health workers), expansion of violence prevention and mediation programs, capacity building for nonprofits, Pre-K expansion, career and technical scholarships and more.
- Capital planning for the future: around $73 million is included for major capital improvements and investments, including renovations for a medical detox and crisis stabilization facility on Robin Hood Road, renovations for the CFCC nursing facility, a new library branch in the Northchase area, Parks improvements, two new fire stations (on Gordon Road and in Castle Hayne) and investments in sewer and water infrastructure in the northern area of the county.
- Nonprofit & economic development investments: Nearly $1.6 million in funding to fulfill 50 non-county agency funding requests, along with more than $1 million in funding to directly support 14 organizations that contribute to growing local job opportunities, business prospects and quality of life across the county. As well as continued investment in the design of Holly Shelter Business Park and infrastructure completion for Blue Clay Business Park.
After discussions with the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, the following reductions to the county budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24 were made to accommodate the half-cent tax reduction requested by Commissioners:
- New Hanover County Schools capital funding reduced – $500,000
- Cape Fear Community College operating funding reduced – $500,000
- Negative Salary Lag Adjustment increased – $500,000
- Community Building Plan, Technical Certification amount reduced – $762,109
- Administrative Reserve reduced – $247,754
- Senior Social Worker, net cost – $49,993
- Cape Fear Museum Park shade structure removed – $100,000
In addition to those reductions, the following line items were increased from the recommended budget. The numbers below represent additional funding to the following organizations:
- Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM) – $45,000**
- Beacon Education/GLOW Extended Day Learning – $24,500
- Child Development Center, Inc./Core Mission Support – $33,750
- Coastal Therapeutic Riding Program/Scholarship Program – $2,400
- Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum/US Colored Troops Program – $6,250
- Wilmington’s Residential Adolescent Achievement/After School Enrichment – $21,971
- Wilmington Symphony Orchestra – $7,500
**WARM was unintentionally omitted from the non-county agency funding recommendation provided in the recommended budget document. The committee recommended $15,300 for WARM, and the Board of Commissioners increased the funding to $45,000.