Board Adjusts Current Budget

Published 4:46 pm Thursday, March 7, 2013

CUMBERLAND – After tabling two bills from Piedmont Regional Jail during their regular February meeting, the Cumberland Board of Supervisors met on March 6 for the express purpose of working through unplanned expenses in the current year's budget.

During Tuesday night's meeting the board appropriated $47,000 from within the current budget to cover Piedmont Regional Jail expenses for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The majority of the funds were taken from excess salaries and wages originally budgeted for community development, planning and zoning and the Sheriff's department.

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The board approved a list of recommended transfers, supplied County Administrator and Attorney Vivian Giles, with one adjustment. They did not cut the budget for computer upgrades by the full recommended amount of almost $20,000. Instead, they cut it by less than $5,000 and decreased the amount allocated for the jail from $62,000 to $47,000.

Giles reported to the board that she had calculated the amount of $62,000 based on the current unpaid invoices and projecting the average monthly expenses to the end of the fiscal year. However, the board decided to appropriate only $47,000 and appropriate additional funds later on, if needed.

All of the appropriations were based solely on transferring money from within the current budget, Giles told the board.

The board received a letter from the jail the day of the meeting, informing them that there would be no invoice for the month of February, according to Giles.

Supervisor Parker Wheeler, District Five, who sits on the board for Piedmont Regional Jail, also told his fellow supervisors that while he could not as yet reveal the details, “it's a good indication it's going to get better.”

Also, at the beginning of the meeting, Supervisor Bill Osl, District One, pointed out that according to the monthly report received in the February board packet the County is almost half a million dollars ahead on the budget. Giles also confirmed that the County is currently ahead of budget.

Osl then stated that he was not opposed to the appropriations, but wondered why the County was going to cut some areas, like computer upgrades, as opposed to just using some of the surplus the County already has.

Osl then asked Giles, “Is there things in here, that you would prefer not to do, if you could use the surplus that we already have, not out of reserves, this current year surplus.”

Giles said that she was definitely interested in keeping the computer upgrades if possible.

When asked by Supervisor Lloyd Banks, District Two, later in the meeting, what the computer upgrade funds would be used for, Giles said that Aaron Hickman budgets an amount each year to upgrade County computers on a rotating basis, instead of all at once.

After discussion regarding the amount of bills already paid to the jail, the amount budgeted and the remaining unpaid invoices, Wheeler moved to appropriate the funds according to the recommendations, except for the $15,000 for computer upgrades.

Giles also pointed out to Banks, who had not been present for the first twenty minutes of the meeting, that all the appropriations were from within the current budget.

All supervisors voted in favor, except for Banks, who was opposed to the appropriations.

With the approval of the transfers, the board also funded the registrar's office the $3,300 requested during its February meeting to fund part-time salaries and wages for the remainder of the fiscal year. In the application submitted to the board in February, it was stated that due to the 2010 Census, the Cumberland Registrar's Office assumed full-time status and additional funding for work hours was needed.

While the focus of the appropriations was on the jail and registrar expenses, which had also been tabled by the board until this meeting, the recommendations also included other transfers, which Giles said usually occur at the end of the year, adding “we try to stay on top of it as we go. So, because we were sharing the other, we're sharing these as well.”

The total amount of appropriations was approximately $1,042,057. The majority of that money, over $950,000, simply reflected the transfer of the proceeds of the USDA loan and RD grant monies for the waterline extension and water utilities professional services to the expense portion of the budget.

The second largest transfer of funds was $47,000 for Piedmont Regional Jail outlined above.

General proprieties received over $15,000, related mostly to repair and maintenance supplies and motor vehicle insurance.

Over $6,000 was transferred for Town of Farmville sales and license taxes.

Besides the USDA loan, which the County was already slated to receive, the majority of funds were taken from the community development salary line item, equaling over $35,000.

The Sheriff's office showed an excess of almost $27,000 in salary and wages, which went to funding the jails. Giles told the board that these excess funds were available because certain “high paid people” retired.

Over $7,000 from planning and zoning salaries and wages also went to pay the jail bills. Giles reported to the board last January that with the departure of former Planning Director Bret Schardein, Rachel Falkenstein, formerly a planner under Schardein, is now acting in his position as interim planning director.

Giles pointed out to the supervisors during their February meeting that not hiring another employee in the planning and zoning department has led to salary savings for the County.

Although the board chose not to cut the bulk of recommended cuts to computer upgrades, almost $5,000 was still cut from that line item, primarily to cover the registrar's office increase in salary and wages.