1. Jason Saine played a key role
Lincoln County N.C. Rep. Jason Saine was appointed as one of three senior chairpersons to lead the General Assembly House Committee on Appropriations in January. As the committee’s senior members, Saine and his co-chairs were tasked with overseeing the creation of North Carolina’s next multibillion-dollar budget, which was approved by the Republican-controlled House and Senate June 27.
2. Nearly $20 million has been earmarked for Lincoln County
“It’s money that some people would say has been earmarked, but the reality is these are tax dollars that have been collected from us,” Saine said. The funding set aside for Lincoln County includes $4.5 million to aide the construction of a new courthouse, a project that has been estimated at $40 million. An additional $375,000 has been set aside to assist in building a new substation near East Lincoln High School to house the East Lincoln Fire Department and Lincoln County Emergency Medical Services. The budget includes $150,000 in public safety grants for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, which would be used to purchase a new boat to support the department’s increased presence on Lake Norman. An additional $150,000 would be split between EMS and the Lincoln County Public Library, with each entity intending to purchase a new vehicle with its share. Lincoln County Veterans Services would receive $75,000, which would be used to create a meeting room in its current facility, and the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Lincoln County and Heartbeats Pregnancy Center in Denver would each receive $25,000. The budget would also fund a new investigator position for the District Attorney’s office and new public defenders to serve Judicial District 27B. “This money, if we’re able to get all or just some of it, is ultimately a savings to the taxpayer locally,” County Manager Kelly Atkins said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to take these dollars and apply them in areas of great need, which would ultimately reduce the amount of money the county has to borrow and impact our discussions about future tax rates.”
3. The biggest chunk goes to Lincoln County Schools
More than $13 million has been included in the state budget proposal to assist Lincoln County Schools with its capital needs. The district conducted a capital needs assessment within the past few years that yielded more than $34 million needed for capital projects spanning the district. School districts across the state will receive funding for capital projects based on population percentage.
4. The budget is currently in limbo
While the budget passed through the GOP-controlled legislature, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the spending plan, as was the case in 2017. However, in 2017, the GOP held a supermajority in both chambers, meaning Cooper’s veto was easily overridden. This time around, Republican leaders will need help from their colleagues on the other side of the aisle to override Cooper and pass the budget into law. There’s no timetable for a vote to override Cooper’s veto, according to Saine.