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NC budget allocates $26M for area counties

A revised state budget allocates more than $26 million for capital projects and services in Henderson, Transylvania, and Buncombe counties, state Sen. Chuck Edwards and Reps. Tim Moffitt and Jake Johnson announced in a joint news release Thursday. Among the appropriations for Henderson County are $1 million that county commissioners may spend on "public projects," $1 million to support drug rehab efforts, $500,000 to Edneyville Fire & Rescue for building improvements or equipment and $300,000 to Conserving Carolina for dam repairs.

The budget also increases funding for school safety initiatives and prepares the state to weather a potential recession, the Hendeerson County delegation said.

Over the last decade, Republicans in the General Assembly worked to ensure our state would have a strong financial footing in the event of our next recession to avoid making the same mistakes the Democrats did during the last recession. The revised budget continues that preparation by establishing a new “State Inflationary Reserve” in anticipation of a recession.

“I enjoy the synergy I share with Rep. Moffitt and Rep. Johnson to ensure our region is not forgotten, particularly when it comes to helping fund our area's interests," Edwards said. "Their partnership strengthens the voice of WNC."

The budget increases most state employee salaries by 3.5 percent and over the biennium state employees will receive a total 6 percent raise. The budget also increases the salary of entry-level teachers. Under the new budget, teachers will, on average, receive a 4.2 percent pay raise. Beyond pay raises, over the biennium teachers will receive an average of 14.2 percent in additional compensation including bonuses and supplements. Lastly, noncertified public school employees, like bus drivers, will receive either a 4 percent pay raise or an increase to $15/hour, whichever is greater.

To address school safety concerns, the budget provides an additional recurring $15 million for the School Resource Officer Grant program, specifically for elementary and middle schools. It also increases the state match for the School Resource Officer Grant program for most school districts to $4 for every $1 in non-state funds. The budget allocates $26 million more to the At-Risk allotment to help school districts meet the average salary of school resource and provides an additional $32 million for the School Safety Grant program for student support, school safety training and safety equipment in schools.

The Center for Safer Schools is required to gather data on existing school safety systems, policies, and procedures. It will now report that information and any recommendations for improving school safety to the General Assembly.

Funding for local government, non-profits and other agencies includes:

  • $1 million to Henderson County to use for public projects.
  • $500,000 to Transylvania County to use for public projects.
  • $2.75 million to Buncombe County for a flood mitigation project in Barnardsville.
  • $200,000 to Buncombe County for park development in Fairview.
  • $500,000 to the Town of Columbus for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
  • $500,000 in directed grants to First Contact Ministries, Inc. in Henderson County bringing their total grant to $2 million.
  • $500,000 in directed grants to Open Arms Pregnancy Center in Hendersonville.
  • $500,000 in funding to Marketing Association for Rehabilitation Centers (MARC), Inc. a nonprofit in Fletcher.
  • $300,000 grant to Conserving Carolina for dam repairs in Hendersonville.
  • $500,000 grant to Edneyville Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Inc. for capital improvements or equipment.
  • $500,000 directed grant to Mountain Area Pregnancy Services in Buncombe County and $50,000 for services in Asheville.
  • $100,000 of federal Substance Abuse Block Grant funds for First Step Farm of WNC, Inc. in Buncombe County.
  • $4 million grant to Mountain Area Health Education Center for capital improvements or equipment in Asheville.

The state Senate approved the revised budget Thursday by a vote of 36-8. The House will need to adopt the budget before it goes to Gov. Roy Cooper for his consideration.


In education, the budget:


  • Funds an additional $1 billion over the FY 2021-22 amount for a total of $16.5 billion.
  • Includes $3.9 million to cover the copays for students that qualify for reduced-price lunches.
  • Funds an additional 124 literacy coaches and early learning specialists to aid in early literacy efforts.
  • Makes a $431 million transfer over the biennium from the N.C. Education Lottery to the Needs-Based Public School Capital Building Fund. Over the course of the next 6 years, a projected $2.6 billion will be spent on school capital.
  • Expands the income eligibility for the Opportunity Scholarship Program so more families have the chance to send their child to a school that best fits his or her educational needs. The new income eligibility level is equal to or less than 200% of the amount required for free or reduced-price lunch.
  • Allocates an additional $56 million in recurring funds to the Opportunity Scholarship Grant reserve, for a total of $150.8 million that can be awarded to families that qualify for the scholarship.
  • Provides an additional recurring $16.3 million to the Personal Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program, to clear the program’s waitlist. The program’s total funding in FY 2022-23 is $47.9 million.
  • Creates a recurring $250,000 grant for schools to purchase feminine hygiene products in schools.
  • Provides a $250,000 directed grant from the Local Project Reserve to Muddy Sneakers in Brevard to support experiential learning programs that aim to improve the scientific aptitude of 5th graders through supplemental, hands-on field instruction of the State science standards.

For capital and infrastructure projects, the budget:

  • Provides $883 million for water and wastewater infrastructure projects, bringing the total amount available for those projects over the biennium to $2.5 billion.
  • Provides $300 million to build a new education complex and governor’s office in downtown Raleigh, and to renovate and demolish other downtown government buildings.
  • Includes $250 million for a reserve to help defray cost overruns for state capital projects due to inflation.
  • Appropriates $120.8 million in additional capital grants to local governments and non-profit entities.

In other items, the plan:

  • Redirects 2 percent of sales tax revenue — approximately $193.1 million — to the Highway Fund to support a variety of transportation purposes. This is the first step to addressing declining transportation revenues to keep up with population growth.
  • Provides an additional $5 million for the GREAT Grants to expand broadband access in underserved areas. This increases the amount for GREAT Grants to $20 million recurring. The state expects to receive at least $100 million from the federal Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act for broadband.
  • Transfers $950 million to the State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Reserve, with $215.8 million of that allocated for disaster recovery efforts from previous events and mitigation efforts to prepare for future flooding and natural disasters.
  • Increases the NC Pre-K provider reimbursement rates by 5 percent. Private child care facilities, which were slated to receive a 4 percent rate increase with funds from the 2021 Appropriations Act, will now receive a 9 percent reimbursement rate increase in FY 2022-23.
  • Appropriates $1.8 million from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant to update and maintain voter lists and to continue enhancing election technology and security improvements.
  • Provides $1 million to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina’s Megasite Readiness Program, with the intent to identify additional mega sites in North Carolina.
  • Allocates $1 million to support the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub at Fayetteville State University.