Fiscal Responsibility

Counties, unlike the Federal government, cannot operate with a deficit. We must balance our budget each year. Fiscal responsibility is critical for ensuring that essential and mandated services such as schools, public health, law enforcement and social services, are provided without overburdening taxpayers. Commissioners are responsible for maintaining financial stability and for the expenditure of public funds. We are and should be accountable for our decisions. Chatham County government is lean and our financial indicators are very strong in comparison to other counties. I thank our hard working county employees and the volunteer work of our citizens for their role in keeping Chatham County on a firm financial foundation. Here are some facts regarding our fiscal status:

  • In the face of the current recession, financial indicators for Chatham County are strong. We are well-prepared to meet both our short and long term financial obligations.
  • When the recession struck, Chatham County immediately froze hiring for many positions as well as wage increases.
  • We trimmed the overall county budget by 3% last year by instituting many cost saving measures.
  • Property tax rates in Chatham County are about average for North Carolina counties, yet we rank 5th highest in school funding out of 100 counties. Our government is more efficient than most.
  • The number of county employees per capita has decreased in the last two years from 7.07 to 6.95 per 1,000 residents.Chatham County has 20% fewer employees per capita than most counties in North Carolina. The state average is 9 employees per 1000 residents compared to about 7 for Chatham County.
  • Due to the efficient and effective use of resources, funding for law enforcement, public health and social services is less than the state average. This is mainly due to outstanding leadership and hard working employees in each of these areas, and the extraordinary efforts made by our non profit agencies.
  • Because of the county's financial stability, we are able to obtain funding (in a very difficult financial market) for the construction of the Margaret B. Pollard Middle School, the Northwood High School expansion, community college buildings in Pittsboro and Siler City, and the county library.
  • Because these projects were bid during the economic downturn, the county saved nearly $7 million dollars, compared to architect estimates.