Budget & Strategy
Budget & Strategy manages Gaston County’s annual budgeting process, seeks grant opportunities that align with program priorities, and oversees long-term strategic processes including the Strategic Plan and the Capital Improvement Plan.
Additionally, we take an active role in assisting the County Manager in responding to the Commissioners' requests for information. This includes preparing Commissioner resolutions, conducting various research and survey projects, and completing other activities as requested by the County Manager.
Questions? Please reach out to us: 704-866-3053
Like all governments in North Carolina, Gaston County is required to operate under a balanced annual budget ordinance in which expenditures equal estimated revenues. Budget staff play a primary role in facilitating the County’s annual budgeting process, while also monitoring the budget throughout the year.
Gaston County’s fiscal year begins on July 1st and runs through June 30th of the following year. The County Commissioners are responsible for setting the property tax rate and adopting the budget ordinance. The budget ordinance lays out projected revenues and expenditures for all appropriated funds. Funds are separate, self-balancing sets of accounts that record revenue received and expenditures spent. The County’s main operating fund is referred to as the General Fund.
Property taxes are the largest revenue source for the General Fund. However, they make up less than half of projected revenue for all appropriated funds. Other revenue sources include sales and other taxes (like occupancy taxes); intergovernmental revenue and grants; fees, licenses, and permits; fund balance (which is essentially the County’s savings account); as well as some other smaller revenues.
Gaston County funds many essential programs and services. Each fund records expenditures related to one or more of these major functions: public safety, education, human services, general government, economic and physical development, and more. For more detailed information on the annual budget, please see the Budget page linked to in the sidebar.
Grants staff are instrumental in securing millions of dollars in grant funding each year. This outside funding supports essential programs without increasing the tax burden on residents. A few of the major grants awarded to Gaston County over the past several years fund the following programs:
- Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program: This drug diversion and treatment program is a collaboration between Gaston County Police Department and the DA’s Office. The program is designed to improve collaboration, augment treatment and recovery services, and to offer housing assistance and certified peer recovery support services to individuals participating in LEAD and the Recovery Court.
- Urgent Repair Program: This program provides funds to assist very-low and low-income households with special needs in addressing housing conditions that pose imminent threats to life and safety, including accessibility modifications necessary to prevent displacement of homeowners, such as frail elderly and persons with disabilities.
- The Lighthouse Children’s Advocacy Center: Children’s Advocacy Centers provide a child-friendly, safe and neutral location for forensic interviews to take place. Law enforcement and Child Protective Services investigators are part of an investigation team for children who are alleged victims of abuse. The main objective is to reduce trauma to child victims by bringing all disciplines together and sharing information more efficiently to minimize duplication and trauma to the child.
In recent years, Gaston County ramped up long-term strategic planning with the implementation of its first-ever Strategic Plan, as well as the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Strategy staff are responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of these initiatives.
The Strategic Plan serves as an internal roadmap for the organization as we strive to ensure our communities are healthy and safe, maintain our position as a leader in economic development, provide residents and visitors opportunities for recreation and personal enrichment, and work toward achieving the community's vision as "A place where everyone thrives." More information about the County's FY24-28 strategic plan may be found in the sidebar to the right.
The Capital Improvement Plan anticipates capital project and equipment purchases over a five-to-ten year period. Gaston County’s annual CIP includes a one-year capital budget with an additional four-year forecast schedule. The first year of the plan is included as the capital portion of the annual budget.