Forsyth County Commissioners adopted the county’s 2021 budget at its regular meeting on Thursday, Nov. 19 at a slight increase over the previous year’s total.
Commissioners unanimously adopted the FY 2021 budget with the approval to apply a 2% cost of living increase and a 1% increase to the employees' salary range schedule as budgeted. The total adopted budget for 2021 is $394,552,411 and is a 5.6% increase from the 2020 budget, which sat at $373,662,754.
Commissioners heard a presentation of the 2021 budget from CFO Dave Gruen on Oct. 13. The general fund budget was proposed to be balanced at $151,830,782, which Gruen said “is 1.4% over the adopted budget from 2020.” The general fund budget for 2020 was $149,692,067.
During the Oct. 13 work session, Gruen also said that the 2021 budget factored in a 5% reduction for sales tax revenues compared to the 2020 budget.
“This year, though, our collections are still ahead of last year, 2019, so I think you can see we are highly confident that at this reduced level, we should be in good shape through next year, whatever shape the economy comes out of this year in, and other revenues have been budgeted accordingly,” Gruen said at the Oct. 13 BOC work session.
The 2021 budget also includes a 4% increase to capital projects funds, increasing from 7% in 2020 to 11%. Funds for reconstruction of the Forsyth County Juvenile Justice Center located at 875 Lanier 400 Parkway have been awarded at $18 million.
Construction for the juvenile justice center began in March 2020 and it is planning to open in the later quarter of 2021. The improvements will include a new building, new parking, screening stations at the entrance, courtrooms, a training room, an information area, new spaces for therapists and a conferencing space.
The adopted 2021 budget also includes 21 new positions to be funded by the general fund, eight new positions funded by other funds, two positions through the fire fund, five outdoor weather sirens through the general fund and a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for salaries and compensation for Forsyth County government employees.
During their July 23 meeting, commissioners adopted the county millage rate at 7.896 mills. This is slightly less than last year’s rate of 7.936 mills.
The county millage rate is the total of the maintenance and operating (4.731 mills), fire district (2.175 mills) and general obligation bond (0.93 mills) millage rates.
The millage rate is the formula that calculates property taxes. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, which is 40 percent of the actual market value. The total millage rate is made up of the county’s rate and the school system’s rate, which was 19.718 mills in 2019 and 2020.