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County passes $191 million budget

Janet Imrick
Randolph Hub


ASHEBORO – Randolph County Commissioners have passed a budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year, one they described as one of the "toughest they've had."


"It's a difficult budget year," County Manager Zeb Holden said. "I appreciate everyone trying to get us to the finish line and adopt a budget that serves the county as we move forward with the new year."


Commissioners unanimously passed a budget for $191,726,080.


The county attributed the difficulty of balancing the budget to the loss of $3.3 million in Medicaid Hold Harmless reimbursements, which they learned the state would not give out in March. They elected to fill that hole with the Solid Waste Management fund traditionally set aside for strategic planning projects.


Chairman Darrell Frye said they are keeping in mind the several large economic projects coming to Randolph County. "Those will all bring additional revenue to the county, but those are still several years away," he said.


Commissioner David Allen said, "I think this is the toughest one we've had," and called it a transitional year. "We're transitioning from what we've had to the growth of the Toyota and all the building. Along with that growth, there's going to be some extra challenges, such as building new schools."


Commissioners met on June 17 to close out final items for this fiscal year and approve school and fire tax rates, which went unchanged this year.


The only disagreement came during the vote on fee schedules, which they had pushed back from the regular meeting. They voted 3-2, with Allen and Hope Haywood dissenting, on raising the fee for a rezoning appeal application from $100 to $150.


The planning and zoning board had recommended $400 due to the costs incurred to prepare for an appeal. Commissioners all said that the fee should be higher but disagreed on how much.


Commissioner Maxton McDowell motioned for $150. He maintained that the planning board wanted to give citizens some "skin in the game" when appealing but should not be burdensome.


"I don't think they need to have the onus of all the costs," Maxton said. "The appeal could come from the applicant; it could come from other people, other citizens in the county. I think going from $100 which is has been to $150 is a reasonable compromise, along with raising the rezoning application to $250."


Allen said he used the "Goldilocks method." He said, "I think $400 is too high and $150 is too low. I think they should both be $250."


Frye sided with McDowell and Kenny Kidd. He said, "Not every rezoning decision is appealed. It's not a money-making process. Whatever fee we set, it's still cheaper than any county around us. I don't think there necessarily is a right number."


Commissioners said they are using optimistic projections on sales tax revenue to balance the budget this year. "People coming in and shopping, spending their funds in Randolph County really does help,” Haywood said.