By Richard Taylor
Hyde County’s spending budget of $16,714,474 starting July 1 holds to the current tax rate of $.77 per $100 property valuation.
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners approved the fiscal year 2020 budget at a special meeting June 24.
County Manager Chris Noble said the upcoming budget year, like those of the last five years, was extremely conservative with respect to expenditures, as the county aims to correct a downward trend in tax receipts. Still, no staff positions were cut.
Despite an increase in appropriations of $981,232.38 over last year’s budget, the board was able to hold the current tax rate by transferring $ 1,191,107.63 from the county’s fund balance. Noble said new tax software and the acceptance of credit cards has significantly increased ad valorem tax collections rate from 93.6 to 98 percent. Sales tax revenue has also increased.
“This appropriation from our fund balance should still leave us in a healthy position of 25 to 30 percent (of the total budget expenditure) after our 2018-19 audit,” Noble said. “This is far higher than state standards and comparative with other coastal counties. Our fund balance is robust enough to withstand any emergency we may face within the coming year.”
After a presentation by Noble, the board approved an additional $5,000 toward first-year funding for the newly established Recovery Court Program within the five counties of the 24th Judicial District — Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Tyrell and Washington. Noble said the new program would actually save the county money by reducing jail expenses and recidivism among drug abusers.
North Carolina Recovery Courts are designed to assist chemically dependent offenders with their court ordered treatment plans.
Ocracoke Commissioner Tom Pahl was pleased the tax rate did not increase and especially appreciated the board’s budgeting for the new Recovery Court Program.
“It’s a very necessary thing and I’m really glad we’re doing it,” Pahl said. “It’s what the courts should be doing anyway. The fact that they have to turn to us and the other counties seems like a good use of funding. A year from now, we may see some results.”
Does Ocracoke have a drug abuse problem?
“Yes, we still do,” Pahl added. “There are still plenty of problems out here.”
Hyde County Health Department expands information
Citizens can now sign up for the Hyde County Health Department and Hyde County Behavioral Health mailing list to receive information on programs, services, upcoming events, etc. Visit www.hydehealth.com and click the link under announcements to register. You can also register by clicking the same link on the contacts page and follow these two departments on:
HCHD Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HydeCountyHealthDepartment/
HCBH Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hydecountybehavioralhealth/
Instagram: Look up Hyde County Health Department on the Instagram application