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Highlights from 2008 Rowan County budget set for adoption tonight:
– 59.5 cents per $100 tax rate. That’s almost 2 cents over the revenue-neutral rate of 57.63, but 3.5 cents under the current 63-cent tax rate.
– 59.5-cent rate applied to county’s $11.2 billion tax base will yield an increase of $5 million in new revenue;
– Budget totals $127.5 million, up 5 percent from $115.7 in the current budget.
Increases
– $2.5 million for current expense funding to schools, putting per-student appropriation at $1,477, the state average, up from $1,365 per student this year.
– $38 million in total current expense funding for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Kannapolis City Schools and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
– $1.3 million ó mandated increase for Medicaid and other Social Service programs; total county cost of $7.9 million.
– $727,000 ó 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for county employees.
– $300,000 ó a step-up merit program; that’s $100,000 less than originally recommended.
– $250,000 ó cost of increasing county employee insurance from $596 month per employee to $626 monthly.
Additions, new ventures
– $1.3 million for 28 new employees, including benefits.Add-ons
– $23,000 in additional funding for the Rowan County Rescue Squad, with restrictions removed on $84,000 previously earmarked for equipment payments that will allow squad to hire additional personnel.
– $5,000 for the Gang Summit program.
– $24,000 for an electronic house arrest program for those jailed for non-payment of child support.
– $10,000 additional for Rowan Museum to offset loss from not being able to allow alcohol at social functions.
– $154,000 to pay for a radio upgrade of the 800 units due in part to new FCC requirements.
– $55,000 for county’s participation in creating new parking lot at Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church to provide courthouse parking.
– Enochville Fire & Rescue will get a 2-cent hike; property owners will pay 6 cents per $100 of value.

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