Approved Chatham budget includes four cent prop tax increase

The water use rate will rise by 15%, while the chairman of the board of commissioners will see an extra $4,000 in salary


PITTSBORO – The Chatham County Board of Commissioners approved its 2024-25 budget at its meeting on June 17.

The $194 million budget includes a $0.04 increase in the property tax rate, bringing it to $0.725 per $100 in valuation.

The budget also has two major tax and fee increases.

The water use rate and administrative fee will increase by 15%, and two fire districts will raise their tax rates: the Hope district is increasing its rate by $0.015 to a total of $0.0975 per $100 valuation, and the Northview district is increasing its rate by $0.004 to a total of $0.09 per $100 valuation.

$66.5 million is allocated to Chatham County Schools, including a $2,000 supplement increase for all certified staff and about $23.5 million for the Sheriff’s Office.

Additional highlights include a 4% salary increase for county staff, the implementation of a property tax relief program for low-income homeowners and funding for six additional sheriff’s office deputies.

It also includes a $4,000 salary increase for the chair of the County Board of Commissioners, on top of a 4% increase in salary for all the commissioners in line with the rest of the county employees.

“As we move forward into the next fiscal year, I am confident that this budget will enable us to address current challenges, seize opportunities for growth and innovation, and continue building a stronger, more resilient Chatham County,” said County Manager Dan LaMontagne in a message within the approved budget. “I am presenting a fiscal 2024-2025 recommended budget that delivers critically needed services and places the County on stable financial footing for the future.”

Animal resources receive attention in the budget, with funding for one new Animal Resources Officer, four Animal Shelter Attendants, and facility upgrades for the Animal Resource Center. The Sheriff's Office will also see substantial investments in technology, including $222,595 for body camera system upgrades and $20,000 for a forensic tower to assist with electronic investigations.

Additionally, the budget allocates funds for several other new positions, including a Reentry Case Manager to support individuals transitioning back into the community after incarceration, and three Income Maintenance Caseworkers to address growth in social services programs.

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners will next meet July 15.