Lee County Manager John Crumpton’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-22 includes a 1.5 cent property tax decrease, bringing the rate from 77.5 cents per $100 in valuation to 76.

In an interview with The Rant ahead of his presentation of the budget proposal to the Lee County Board of Commissioners on Monday evening, Crumpton said a 7.23 percent growth in tax revenues allowed for the decrease, as well as the setting aside of a penny’s worth of revenue (equal to about $615,000 per year) to pay for debt service on new projects like the sports complex and a new public library.

“It’s pretty amazing when you consider what happened with the economy over the past year,” Crumpton said.

North Carolina requires cities and counties to adopt budgets by July 1. Crumpton said the county is a little ahead of its usual pace on budget deliberations, due in part to the Board of Commissioners’ recent decision to ask for line item budgets in each county department.

Crumpton’s budget proposal includes a two percent increase – or about $378,000 – for Lee County Schools. The district has yet to make its annual formal request for funding from the county, but the number is well below the roughly $1.5 million the schools are expected to request. The school district has yet to make its annual formal request for funding from the county.

After Crumpton presents his budget to the board, its members will still have to deliberate over what, if any, changes to make before officially adopting the document as policy.