CHAPEL HILL- For the fifth year in a row, Orange County Commissioners approved a budget that does not include a countywide property tax rate increase.

The $187 million dollar spending plan adopted on Tuesday increases school funding by $102 dollars per pupil and raises the Chapel Hill-Carrboro special district tax by two cents to help open the new Northside Elementary.

With $91 million dollars going to the county’s two school districts, County Manager Frank Clifton said it’s clear where the board’s priorities lie.

“Nobody can question that our number one priority is education,” said Clifton. “If you compare Orange County to the majority of counties in our state […] you won’t find anyone that comes close.”

Clifton also commended commissioners for their commitment to improving the county’s emergency response times by allocating funding for EMS equipment, technology upgrades and new personnel.

“This board has stepped up in the matter of public safety like no other board in the county’s past history,” said Clifton. “I think the good news is that the people of Orange County will see a much better response from the county going forward.”

The board also approved a five-year Capital Investment Plan that includes money for a science wing at Culbreth Middle School, an auxiliary gym at Cedar Ridge High School, and renovations to the Whitted building to create a meeting space for local governments.

With the final budget formally adopted, the board of commissioners will go on hiatus for the summer and resume regular meetings in September.