ORANGE COUNTY – County commissioners will try to balance budget priorities at a work session Thursday.

The county is looking to finance several large construction projects in the next five years, without bumping up against its debt ceiling. To do so, county staffers are recommending that the board move ahead with the Culbreth science wing expansion next year but delay construction of the Southern Branch Library until 2017.

Rising costs for health care and retiree benefits, as well as EMS upgrades and increased funding requests from the schools top the list of budget concerns for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Those total an additional $15 million in spending and would require a ten-cent property tax rate increase to fully fund them all.

County commissioners will hash out the details when the board meets at 7:00 p.m. in the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road.