In a matter of moments last Tuesday evening, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved its 2021 tax rate schedule, adopted its 2021 budget and extended the deadline for first-half of the year real estate tax payments. All three votes were unanimous.

The board’s “regular” second meeting of the month followed virtual public hearings a week earlier where only one comment (from Legal Aid Works thanking the board for supporting its budget request) was received.

In its remote meeting, aired live on YouTube, the board adopted an equalized real estate tax rate of $0.61 per $100 of assessed value and a fire and EMS levy of $0.11 per $100 of assessed value for a combined real estate tax rate of $0.72. Personal property, watercraft, recreational vehicles, machinery and tools, merchants capital and other taxes all remained the same.

The county adopted a consolidated budget of $123.8 million which includes both the county and the schools’ complete budgets.

The 2021 budget includes $74.8 million in total school funds and $49 million for other county operations, collectively representing a 16% increase from the 2020 adopted budget—most of which can be accounted for in funds it expects to borrow for capital projects.

The budget includes nearly $15 million in borrowed funds to finance four primary capital projects—renovations and an addition at Gordon-Barbour Elementary School ($6.3 million), modifications to the county-owned Blue Bell building to create a technical education center ($2.5 million), opening of a new landfill cell ($3 million) and furthering the county’s broadband initiative ($3 million).

The budget allocates nearly $3.8 million in general government administration, nearly $2.2 million in judicial administration, $8.2 million in public safety (plus nearly $6.4 million funded exclusively by the new fire and EMS levy), $1.3 million in public works, $4.4 million in health and welfare, nearly $1.5 million in parks, recreation and culture, and $1.9 in community development.

In addition, the board approved extending the deadline for the payment of first-half of the year real estate property taxes from June 5 to June 20. Additionally, taxpayers will have a grace period to pay until July 20 without penalty, according to the adopted ordinance.

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