Monday, April 25, 2011

Guilford County Information Request: Is Guilford County's budget deficit $26.8 million, or about $67.7 million?

A government's deficit can be measured with or without including the interest it pays on its debt.

The primary deficit is defined as the difference between current government spending
and total current revenue from all types of taxes.

The total deficit (which is often just called the 'deficit') is spending,
plus interest payments on the debt, minus tax revenues.


"County Manager on budget deficit: figure it out yourself

...Fox chose to present to the Guilford County Commissioners a "base budget" that was balanced and required no tax increase.

Then, in addition to this "base budget," a series expenses and cuts in revenue that would actually mean the county would need a 6.32 cent tax increase.

This led us here at Scoop to call the county to make sure we had the right idea about the projected deficit, which we were told would be near $30 million.

If the budget deficit is defined as current year spending minus next year's expected revenue,
how can the County Budget deficit be $26 million,
if they plan to use $24 million in savings?

26 + 24 = 50

Any question about a deficit is usually answered with some version of "Well, it depends on how you look at it" -- so it's always worth making sure you know exactly how the county is looking at it.

Notice the adopted current year budget savings expenditure $33,994,340
to the ammended $42,236,454

After calls to County Budget Director Michael Halford weren't returned we tried to get in touch with Fox herself by phone and e-mail.

We were told, through an assistant, that the manager suggested we look at the budget message.

Saying we had done that, we asked if we could simply confirm some math with the manager and be sure the county saw it the same way.

We were told, again, to look at a few pages of the budget message but that the manager didn't intend to get into it beyond that.

Finally Halford...e-mailed us to say he'd be glad to talk to us on the phone about it.

The deficit: $26.8 million, in case you were wondering.

Total Debt Service

2011 - $77,837,113

2012 - $88,530,030

88.5 - 77.8 = 10.7

jail = 9

savings = 24

total 43.7 million

Plus 6 cent tax increase = 6 cents x 4 million tax revenue increase per cent = 24 million

43.7 + 24 = 67.7 million budget deficit?

Plus another 15 million the year after for debt we don't need to borrow.

So, in summary:

The county's Budget Director has the time, when nursing a sick child, to be sure the public has accurate numbers.

The County Manager...not so much.

Sometimes nothing says as much as silence.


They are also expecting increases in sales taxes and user charges,
which may be unrealistic,
if we double dip back into reccession, which I believe to be most probable.

emailed to:

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