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County Manager Davis Presents FY 20-21 Recommended Budget

Post Date:05/11/2020 11:00 PM
  • Proposed budget includes no property tax increase at 71.22 cents per $100 valuation.
  • Additional $3.24 million allocated to Durham Public Schools for operating budget.
  • $2 million allocated to address current capital maintenance issues for DPS


Durham, N.C. – Durham County Manager Wendell M. Davis presented a total budget of $675.9 million for Fiscal Year 2020-21 to the Durham Board of County Commissioners during their Regular Session on May 11, 2020. The proposed budget includes a 2.68% increase from last year.


The framework for developing this budget recommendation shifted significantly between February and the recommended budget. This change is resultant from the impact of the unprecedented Coronavirus (COVID-19).


Governments, organizations, and individuals across the globe have reacted quickly to abrupt changes in the health standards required to protect the life and health of people. The measures required to maintain such standards have resulted in extraordinary, unpredictable economic fluctuations and increased pressures on local government human services and public safety functions to help protect citizen health, wellness, and safety.

The fiscal landscape, while unprecedented, requires strategic approaches to ensure adequate resources are available to address critical life and safety issues while funding statutory mandates and requirements by county governments. The recommended budget was developed with the goal of shielding the organization against many unknowns in the foreseeable future. 


Durham County’s Tax Collection Rate is projected to decrease to 99.10%. Maintenance of this rate is critical, but economic challenges will most likely cause it to be lower. Property tax revenue serves as the main source of Durham County funding, while other revenues are decreasing.



  • No tax increase recommended
  • No general fund fee increases
  • No employee salary increases
  • Vacant position hiring freeze
  • No new positions (unless revenue supported or through permanent realignments)
  • Flat operational budgets
  • Board of County Commissioners Contingency Reduced to $0
  • Manager Contingency Reduced to $0
  • Support employee health benefits increase
  • Budget capacity to address unanticipated COVID-19 and economic expenses
  • Support the Capital Improvement Plan as endorsed by the Board of County Commissioners during the Joint Board of County Commissioners/ Board of Elections Meeting on February 13, 2020



The FY 2020-21 Manager Recommended Budget includes no property tax increase.

  • Increased employee health insurance costs - $2.7 million (9%)
  • Increased Durham Public School funding - $5.23 million
    • $3.23 million to support DPS student growth of over 700 students and other related costs
    • $2 million to support expansion of ongoing annual capital maintenance needs
  • DSS Medicaid Enrollment Support - $1.23 million (57 Potential FTEs)


    New position support and other operating needs- $1.96 million

    • Information Technology operating cost increases - $1.03 million
    • City/County Department increases - $368,178
    • Internal Audit - $76,167 (1 FTE)
    • Solid Waste support - $190,386 (Sticker Fee Flat)
    • Stormwater policy implementation - $293,659 (2 FTEs)
  • Reserved for Potential Unknown COVID Expenditures - $4.5 million
  • Reserved for Potential Receipt Shortfall (expenditure budget holdback) - $4.6 million
  • Departmental reductions - $3.14 million
  • The County has approximately 2,000 employees. Benefits plan (specifically Health Insurance) estimated costs have increased by 9% ($2.7 million).
  • $1.39 million of County dollars to support 63 new positions for the County.
    • 60 of these have offsetting Grant or Other Fund revenue
    • 57 are to address more timely response to Medicaid application processing. 

$5.24 million or 3.6% increase to support of Durham Public Schools (DPS). The FY 2020-21 Board of Education budget request includes a $18.8 million increase ($14.2 million in current expense and $4.6 million for Capital Outlay).  

Special Tax Districts Tax Rates

  • A one cent tax rate increase is needed for Durham County Fire and Rescue Service District to support consolidation with the City, and payment of debt service for 3 trucks, as well as make up for reduce property tax revenue.
  • The RTP special district is requesting a 1.51 cent tax rate increase to make up for reduced property valuation as well as park project implementation funding.
  • Three other Volunteer Fire Departments are all requesting no tax rate increases to support continued operation and/or capital investments


    Other highlights covered in the Manager’s Recommended Budget include:

  • Departmental operational budget reductions totaled $3.1 million.


 To view the recommended budget, visit the County’s Budget and Management Services webpage. Questions about the proposed budget can be directed to the Durham County Manager’s Office at (919) 560-0000 or via email at

Budget Work Sessions are currently planned for May 19, 27, 28, June 1, and 2. Due to the ongoing prioritization of the County’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this schedule may be amended, and updates provided.

For questions about meeting dates and times, contact the Durham County Clerk to the Board at (919) 560-0025 or  

A public hearing for the FY 2020-2021 Budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, May 26, 2020. The hearing will take place virtually. Questions, statements, responses can be sent to  to be heard by the Board at this important meeting.  

Residents are invited to make comments about the budget by completing a form in the FY 2020-21 Budget Comment Portal. All comments will be compiled and forwarded to the Board of Commissioners.  

The budget is scheduled for approval during the BOCC Regular Session on Monday, June 8. 




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