Durham County's $955 million budget proposal includes property tax increase, more money for DPS

Tom George Image
Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Durham County Manager presents proposed budget for new fiscal year
The $955 million proposed budget includes a property tax increase and an increase in the Durham Public Schools budget. Some homeowners say it might be worth it to improve the community.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham County Manager Dr. Kimberly J. Sowell presented the proposed budget Monday for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

The $955 million proposed budget includes a property tax increase and an increase in the Durham Public Schools budget.

Here's a breakdown by the numbers:

  • Property tax would go up by 3.25 cents. This would make a 3 percent increase in worker salaries possible.
  • The proposal also calls for an additional ten full-time equivalent positions.
  • The DPS budget will rise by $13 million. This is the fourth year that the amount has gone up by more than $10 million.
  • About $1 million would be earmarked for the Eviction Diversion Program.
  • $845,000 would go to the sheriff's office for operational needs.

Durham Public Schools didn't get the full amount it requested and property taxes are going up but it's all part of the equation as county leaders try to weigh what should be prioritized.

For the next fiscal year.. the county is working with a $955 million budget. And that budget comes with some added costs for property owners. A 3.25 cent increase in property taxes means taxes are now set at just over 78 cents per $100 value.

With that extra wiggle room, county leaders said they believe they can make some new hires, and also set aside $13 million for Durham Public Schools, $845,000 for the sheriff's office, and more than $1 million for the eviction diversion program that helps people facing housing crises.

The larger property bill didn't bother some homeowners who said it might be worth it to improve the community.

"I have a very civic mind, I'm willing to pay taxes as long as they're spent well." one resident said.

Another property owner wants to see more spent on education.

"We have a kid in the Durham Public School and they have great teachers there, so any increase in pay is worthwhile," the resident said.

DPS board member Jovonia Lewis said that at a time when teachers have been fighting for a pay increase for months, something is better than nothing but more needs to be done.

"You don't want to cut any department from what the request is, but these are dire emerging needs to support academic success for children," Lewis said. "This is just a beginning point for us, we definitely want to fund our schools and figure out a way to work together to achieve our fully requested ask."

There will be a public comment period before county leaders take another look at the budget.

The sheriff's office told ABC11 it wanted to wait and see and go through the proposal before commenting on what the money for the sheriff's office could be used for.

The proposed budget is available for viewing on the county manager's website.