Prince Edward board adopts budgets with changes

Published 6:00 am Friday, May 8, 2020

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The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors adopted the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) county and school budgets with some changes and passed the resolution for the Calendar Year 2020 tax rates with no changes Tuesday, May 5.

Jerry R. Townsend

The board voted unanimously to cut some money from the Prince Edward County Public Schools (PECPS) budget due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has closed the schools.

Board Chairman and Leigh District Supervisor Jerry R. Townsend noted the school buses are not operating right now.

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“The operating cost of the school is a savings in itself,” he said. “You talk about the utilities and all that, add with your wage, employees, part-time teachers, none of that being utilized. Even though most of your teachers are on salary, they use a lot of part-time teachers to come in and fill in. All of that personnel money, that’s savings. I would recommend that we look at level funding.”

PECPS had been asking for an increase in funding of $57,644, but given the school closures, the board voted 8-0 to level fund the school system.

Then Buffalo District Supervisor Llew Gilliam Jr. made a motion to not grant the school’s request of $120,000 for a school bus given the present lack of need, and the board voted 8-0 to pass the motion.

Townsend highlighted how these changes affected the school budget numbers when he read the motion to approve the school budget.

“The total of the school fund is $26,675,355, of which $8,793,062 is local revenue as a transfer from the county general fund,” he said. “The total for the school cafeteria fund is $1,481,347, of which $0 is local revenue as a transfer from the country general fund. This provides an overall Fiscal Year 21 Prince Edward County School Budget in the amount of $28,156,702.”

The board unanimously adopted the FY21 school budget.

These changes impacted the overall FY21 county budget of $59,216,284, changing it to $59,038,640.

Jim Wilck

The board voted 7-1 to adopt the FY21 county budget, with Farmville 701 District Supervisor Jim Wilck being the lone dissenting vote.

Wilck highlighted what he called misapplied funds in the budget as his reason for opposing it. He noted that Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging Inc. (PSR) was due for a $7,000 increase in funding from the county in the budget, bringing its total county funding to around $14,000.

Pointing to a recent PSR press release that noted the organization had received a grant from the federal government for $730,000, Wilck said PSR did not need extra money from the county.

“I proposed that we not increase what we were already giving them,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “I had already gotten calls from people that said, ‘I can’t believe that you tax us and then donate the money to people that don’t need it,’ and I couldn’t agree more.”

He said he did not make a motion, though.

“I did not because I didn’t think I had the votes, which it proved I didn’t, because the budget passed with that in there, 7-1,” he said.