About Your Dollar

You pay your taxes, but where do they go? The answer is simple: they go toward the many projects and services that the Town provides in order to maintain a high quality of life for all residents.

Too simple? Let's dive into it further:
thirty six million nine hundred eleven thousand two hundred seventy two dollars
total Fiscal Year 2024 Budget

pie chart
how the Budget is divided

In recent surveys, residents have indicated that the four categories they care most about funding are Transportation, Public Safety, Parks & Recreation, and Public Works. In FY24, we invested: 
ten million one hundred forty three thousand six hundred fifty six dollars
in Transportation projects
(from the General Fund and Road Bonds)
thirteen million eight hundred seventy five thousand ninety six dollars
in Public Safety
four million four hundred eighty three thousand three hundred seventy nine dollars
in Parks & Recreation
six million one hundred twenty seven thousand one hundred three dollars
in Public Works

These four categories make up 88% of the total FY24 Budget

Major projects from FY24 include:

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  • Jetton Road Extension: adding multi-use paths and bike lanes
  • Improving crosswalk at JV Washam Elementary
  • Constructing new sidewalks
  • Updating expiring Parks & Greenways Master Plan
  • Purchasing new park maintenance equipment
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  • Hiring Town's first-ever full-time Fire Chief and Training Captain
  • Funding two new School Resource Officers
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  • Funding design of the Magnolia Estates stream restoration project
  • Replacing aging equipment


One of the Town's largest undertakings is the Fire Department Transition Plan.
In previous years, the Cornelius-Lemley Fire and Rescue operated with an entirely volunteer and part-time staff. While the service provided by volunteer and part-time firefighters was exceptional,  lack of available staff meant that minimum standards set by the National Fire Protection Association were not met.
animated graphic of fires popping up across screen
These standards ensure that enough firefighters are available around the clock in case of emergency, like in house fires or times when multiple calls overlap.
Because of this, a multi-year plan was set in motion to create a full-time, career Fire Department. This transition is the only way to keep enough firefighters on staff 24/7. Currently, the transition is 25% complete, and new full-time firefighters are recommended each fiscal year. These positions will be recommended over the next several years until staffing requirements are satisfied.
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Full-time firefighters have already been a wonderful addition to our town, working alongside the volunteers and part-time staff at Cornelius-Lemley Fire & Rescue to continue providing quick, responsive service to every citizen. 


In the past 10 years
thirty seven million eight hundred thousand dollars
in one-time grants have been awarded to the Town for capital projects, like building road projects, connecting greenways, purchasing public safety equipment, and more.

In Cornelius, there is 1 full-time employee for every 178 residents.
In other similar towns, there is an average of 1 full-time employee for every 129 residents.
This means Cornelius operates with a leaner staff than other towns. On average, each Cornelius employee performs the work of 1.38 employees in other places.

As we plan for FY25, it's important to keep in mind that inflation hits the Town just as it hits your household. The cost of vehicles, equipment, supplies, and services are all on the rise. Pre-pandemic, inflation only averaged 1.5% in 2019. In 2022, that average grew to 7.7%, and in 2023 it was 4%. 

Do you have questions About Your Dollar? Email us today.
The full budget is available here for review.