Buckingham OKs Budget

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

BUCKINGHAM – When the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors met on April 22 to consider action on the proposed $42,882,485 budget for FY14, Supervisor Bill Talbert immediately led with a motion to adopt the budget as presented by the county administrator. After a second by Supervisor Joe Chambers and without any discussion, supervisors unanimously adopted the 2013-14 operating budget and tax rates. Supervisor Danny Allen was absent.

For taxpayers as well as county and school division employees, the action is good news. Although most of those employees will be on the receiving end of a three percent pay increase, the budget accommodates doing so without any hike in taxes or county fees.

During her budget presentation at the board's April 15 meeting, which included the public hearing on the budget, County Administrator Rebecca Carter provided a thorough presentation of the proposal. Beginning with an overview of the revenue side of the equation and then reviewing the expenditures, she presented a balanced budget that includes an estimated ending year unassigned fund balance of $4,343,400.

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While focusing on the expenditure side of the budget, Carter highlighted several areas that are increasingly requiring more funding.

She noted that for the first time since she has been county administrator, local funding of the sheriff's office, at $996,944 for FY14, now exceeds the state's funding of $797,530. Likewise, she pointed-out that funding for the Piedmont Regional Jail is increasing by $100,000. Another rising expense for the county is solid waste at $797,568, shared Carter.

However, the county administrator demonstrated that Buckingham's largest expense is education. During her April 15 presentation, Carter concluded the school section with a slide that highlighted an additional local increase of $591,117 in school operations bringing that figure to $6,047,678, which represents 43 percent of the county's local revenues.

With an increase of $620,085, the school debt service rises to $3,017,909, representing 21 percent of local revenue.

Carter, via her slide presentation, shared that the total local expenditure of $9,065,587 for schools represents 64 percent of local revenues.

During Monday night's meeting, as supervisors mechanically cast their votes to appear on the auditorium's monitors, each click seemed to validate Carter's concluding comments during her April 15 budget presentation.

At that time, she offered, “It has been a difficult task dealing with new financial needs and mandates. The county is fortunate that the county revenues have been good and the county departments diligently work to operate their departments as conservative as possible.” Carter added, “I want to express gratitude for all involved in the county government for their cooperation and conservativeness.”

FY13 Funding Requests Approved

Along with considering the adoption of the 2013-14 tax rates and budget, the April 22 agenda included several other items of business.

Carter began by providing supervisors with information regarding a request from Braxton Apperson, Director of the Department of Social Services, for a supplemental appropriation to purchase a new vehicle to replace a 2000 Ford Focus with a blown engine.

During the ensuing discussion, the county administrator recommended supervisors appropriate up to $12,400 for the vehicle, which would allow the DSS to purchase the vehicle and authorize the department to follow its procurement policy.

In turn, Supervisor Cassandra Stish moved to do so and drew unanimous support from her fellow board members.

Supervisors also approved a request from the Comprehensive Services Act Management Team, which works with at-risk youth and their families, for a supplemental local appropriation of $65,581.05.

When presenting the request, Carter recommended that the board appropriate the amount but do so monthly on an as-needed basis for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Agreeing with Carter's recommendation, the board approved the $65,581.05 as a local transfer to be dispersed on a monthly as-needed basis.

Before concluding their meeting, supervisors agreed to meet on an individual basis on May 16 with the Chandler Planning and Berkley Group.

The consultants were hired by the county to do a third party review of the comprehensive plan, zoning ordinances, and subdivision ordinance to ensure they are in agreement with one another and in compliance with all state and federal regulations.

Carter explained that the consultants requested meeting with supervisors individually to discuss any concerns or suggestions they have about the documents.