RANDOLPH COUNTY — A $146.1 million budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year in Randolph County will maintain the county’s property tax of 63.27 cents per $100 of valuation, unchanged from the previous year.

Darrell Frye, chairman of the county board of commissioners, said the board added back $1.024 million in current expenses for the Randolph County Schools System and funded five positions requested by department heads. City Manager Hal Johnson’s proposed budget presented to the Randolph County Board of Commissioners earlier this month did not increase the county’s tax rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

According to Frye, the proposed budget was fiscally conservative, but lacked a few allocations commissioners wanted to see added.

“The manager’s budget was flat, with not much change,” Frye said. “It didn’t address some of the typical issues that we fund, so our task has been to add back what we wanted to include, in addition to what was presented to us at the start of the process. … We added back five positions — three in social services, one a mentor advocate in the Juvenile Day Reporting Center … and [a] building maintenance worker.”

Under the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office umbrella, an additional $25,000 was added back by commissioners for undercover work. Four new ambulances were requested by emergency services, two of which were funded in the 2021-22 fiscal year budget.

The upcoming budget was contrasted heavily by county officials with the document created one year ago. Last year, the county approved a $134.3 million budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year amid a backdrop defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Frye acknowledged at that time the task before county staff and commissioners was to project the degree of impact from the initial shutdown of the local economy and ensuing phased reopening.

As a result, conservative management of financials meant departmental cuts. A series of eight stages were created for last year’s budget to prioritize services until more was known on how COVID-19 would impact the county’s sales tax revenue. Commissioner David Allen indicated then that he believed 2020 would be a precursor for more trying financial times to come in 2021.

Despite the influx of additional funding this year, the chairman was cautious in his commentary and echoed some of Allen’s concern for the financial sustainability of increases.

“In some ways, there could be more uncertainties than there were a year ago,” Frye said.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.