STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA            )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                     )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    JUNE 7, 2007

 

 

 

           

            The Board of Commissioners of the County of Stokes, State of North Carolina, met

 

for a Budget Work Session which included a joint meeting with Board of Education regarding 

 

the Proposed Fiscal Year 2007-08 County Budget in the Commissioners’ Chambers of the

 

Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Building (Administrative Building) located in Danbury,

 

North Carolina on Thursday, June 7, 2007 at 2:00 pm with the following members present:

 

                                                Chairman Leon Inman

Vice-Chairman Jimmy Walker

Commissioner Ron Carroll                                               

Commissioner Ernest Lankford

                                                Commissioner Stanley Smith

                                                                                                                       

                                                County Personnel in Attendance:

                                                County Manager K. Bryan Steen

                                                Clerk to the Board Darlene Bullins

Finance Director Julia Edwards

                                   

                                    Board of Education/Stokes County School Personnel present:

                                    Chairperson Sonya Cox

                                    Vice Chairperson Steve Shelton

                                    Board Member Becky Boles

                                    Board Member Bill Hart

                                    Board Member Yvonne Rutledge

                                    Superintendent Dr. Larry Cartner

                                    Assistant Superintendent Debbie Merritt

                                    Finance Officer Lanette Moore

                                    Director of Operations David Burge

 

                                   

Chairman Leon Inman called the Board of Commissioners’ meeting to order.

 

Chairperson Sonya Cox called the Board of Education’s meeting to order.

 

Commissioner Lankford delivered the invocation.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT-GOVERNING BODY-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

            Chairman Inman opened the meeting by inviting the citizens in attendance to

 

join both Boards with the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 

Board of Education - Proposed 2007-08 Budget

 

            Dr. Cartner discussed the following issues as related to the proposed 2007-08 County

 

Manager’s budget recommendations for Stokes County School System: (Board Members were

 

presented with an informational packet outlining issues pertaining to the Board of Education’s

 

proposed 2007-08 budget)

 

Current Expense Request from BOE

 $  11,512,917.00

Current Expense Recommended by County Manager

 $  10,218,584.00

Difference (Decrease)

 $    1,294,333.00

 

 

Final Budget 2006-07

 $    9,798,494.00

County Manager's Recommendation 2007-08

 $  10,218,584.00

Difference (Increase)

 $       420,090.00

 

 

Chairperson Cox noted the following:

 

·        Request the School System moved forward and not backwards

 

Vice Chairperson Steve Shelton noted the following:

 

·        Current Expense is very important to keep the school system moving forward

·        Disapproves of using ADM funding for retiring indebtedness of school bonds

·        Need a tax increase to provide the needs for the entire county

 

The Board, unanimously agreed, this Board’s intentions were to work together with the

 

Board to Education to provide the best education possible for the students of Stokes County

 

and strives to build up the fund balance to prepare for a future bond referendum.

 

Members of the Board of Education discussed the following issues with the

 

Board of Commissioners:

 

            Capital Outlay

·        Exterior and Landscaping, Renovations, Equipment, & Vehicles needed for 18 schools in the County

·        Proposed 2007-08 Capital Outlay Budget

·        Consider possibility of leasing instead of purchasing the “Pod” for the renovations at Meadowbrook - this would free up funding recommended

by the County Manager for the renovations for other capital outlay projects

·        Safety issues pertaining to bleachers at various schools within the County

·        Need for immediate renovations and repairs at various schools in the county instead of waiting to include these items in a bond referendum

·        Need for asbestos abatement in some schools- tile and carpet worn and must be taken up

·        Mandated three year update from an outside group being performed this year pertaining to documentation of any location that contains asbestos in any school

·        Use of State Public School Building Capital Fund to retire indebtedness of old school bonds

·        Future bond referendum

·        Resurfacing of athletic tracks which are also used by citizens

·        South Stokes is unable to hold conference and regional track events due to safety issues of the track – this puts all conference and regional events at North Stokes every year for their respective conference

·        Purchase of the Robertson Property, which adjoins Lawsonville Elementary School – 20.36 acres for $180,000.  This amount has been already deducted from the Lottery funds.  Information has been sent to the Board of Commissioners for approval to purchase the land and be included in the 2007-08 budget

·        Lighting at West Stokes High School for baseball and tennis courts – possible funding comparable to funding given to other schools within the county for similar projects

Current Expense

·        Need for the .5% increase for the local supplement

·        Need for supplement to recruit and retain teachers

·        Need for implementation of salary scale for non-certified employees based on years of experience

·        Cost of School Resource Officers- schools only have use of the officers for 10 months – request consideration that school system be responsible for their salaries – cost of uniforms, vehicles, equipment, benefits, etc. paid from the Sheriff Department’s budget

·        Need for two additional school nurse positions

·        Need for more personnel for guidance counselor services in elementary schools

·        Increases in employee benefits, utilities, fuel, etc

Other Issues

·        State funding allocation for schools – undetermined at the present time

·        State/Local paid teaching positions

·        Mandatory Discretionary funding was not taken back last year by the State, $289,000 (budgeted last year) was redirected for use in the schools such as library allotment

·        Projected state allocation eliminates 4 teaching positions

·        High School Reform mandates are starting to be effective which requires extra funding to implement programs

·        Teacher coaching positions implemented last year helped to mentor new teachers and less experienced teachers coming into the system

·        Request for 6 additional teaching positions

·        Difficult to rebound from a no growth budget, impact on the schools if two consecutive budget years have a no growth budget

·        Technology funding – school’s five year technology plan – currently in year two of the five year technology plan

·        Planning ahead for a future bond referendum

 

Commissioner Carroll recommended that the Board look at a specific amount of

 

funding for capital outlay and the Board of Education decide on the spending of the funds. 

 

Commissioner Carroll commended the Board’s idea last year of taking fund balance from

 

current expense and transferring that funding for one time non-recurring expenditures. 

 

Chairperson Cox stated the Board of Education would consider that option for this budget.

 

Chairperson Cox expressed appreciation to the Board of Commissioners for the joint

 

meeting and their Board’s desire to work with the Board of Commissioners to provide the best

 

education possible for all students in Stokes County.

 

            Chairman Inman expressed appreciation to the Board of Education for the joint

 

meeting and would continue to work with the Board of Education to provide the best education

 

possible for all students in Stokes County.

 

Chairman Inman recessed the Board of Commissioners’ budget work session until

 

4:30 pm.

 

Chairperson Sonya Cox entertained a motion to adjourn the Board of Education’s joint

 

meeting with the Board of Commissioners.  Member Becky Boles (BOE) moved to adjourn the

 

joint meeting.  Vice Chairman Steve Shelton (BOE) seconded and the motion carried

 

unanimously.

 

            The Board of Commissioners reconvened to the budget work session at 4:30 pm.

 

            Commissioner Carroll requested the Board have the Fire Marshal attend a budget

 

work session to discuss his proposed 07-08 budget.  Commissioner Lankford noted that his

 

understanding from previous discussions by the Board was that the County Manager would

 

direct all inquiries from the Board to all department heads.  The Board discussed the request

 

made by Commissioner Carroll.

 

            Chairman Inman entertained a motion to accept the County Manager’s recommended

 

budget.

 

            There was no motion made to accept the County Manager’s recommended budget.

 

 

 

 

 

            Commissioner Carroll moved to invite the fire marshal to attend the June 12th budget

 

work session at 4:00 pm if convenient.  Vice Chairman Walker seconded and the motion

 

carried (4-1) with Commissioner Lankford voting against the motion.

 

            County Manager Bryan Steen noted that the 2007-08 proposed budget had been

 

reviewed by Mr. Dennis Thompson, Budget Consultant.  Mr. Thompson noted the following:

 

·        Very conservative budget – EDC responsibilities being taken on by the County Manager

·        Mr. Thompson had made the prior Board aware during the last year’s budget work sessions that there would probably be no way to adopt a budget in 2007-08 without a tax increase

·        Mr. Thompson did not see any changes that he would make with the proposed budget

·        Mr. Thompson suggested to request a 5 cent tax increase instead of the manager’s recommendation of a 3 cent tax increase

·        Continue to alleviate county dependence from the hold harmless allocation

·        Continue to increase the fund balance

 

County Manager Steen discussed the amendments that were implemented after the

 

adoption of the 2006-07 budget, which are recurring items.

 

            County Manager Steen reviewed the following budgets emphasizing

 

changes from last year’s budget with the Board:

 

·        Administration – Salary/benefits/conferences for new manager

·        Animal Control – State mandates

·        Arts Council – Increase percentage allocation for arts council director’s salary

·        Contingency – Includes contingency for regular contingency, leave cost, personnel cost, and fuel contingency

·        Cooperative Extension -  Full time director position

·        Debt Service – 3.01% Decrease

·        District Resource Center – Increase due to new full time position (DRC Work Program Coordinator) and reclassification (Office Assistant II to Office Assistant III) added during the previous fiscal year

·        Economic Development – Decrease due to no allocation for director’s salary

and benefits past October 31, 2007

·        Election – Hiring of Election Director Trainee- Current Director retiring December 31, 2007 – Electronic Poll Books- HAVA Grant – Possible statewide election in November

·        Emergency Communications –Recertification of EMD Program for employees and EMD Quality Improvement Software

·        Emergency Management – health/dental premium increases

·        EMS –Part time salaries, fuel, M&R to ambulances, wireless cost incurred for transmittals to hospitals, budgeted $56,000 in capital reserve for major ambulance repairs

·        Environmental Health – Environmental Health Specialist salary approved by the Board in 2006-07 budget, fuel, non recurring overtime allocation of $7,000 to catch up septic tanks permits

·        Finance – Increase due to banking charges for credit card participation, fire proof filing cabinet, and increase on audit contract

·        Fire Marshal – Reduction in work force and associated cost due to the reconstruction of the Department’s duties; transferred Fire & Rescue Association to Special Appropriations; invitation to Fire Marshal to be at the June 12th meeting at 4:00pm

 

The Board discussed the following issues with County Manager Steen:

 

·        Contingency accounts

·        No Economic Development Contingency proposed in the budget

·        Proposed Budget that does not include a full time Economic Development Director position for the entire year

·        Holiday leave time being accrued with no carryover limit

·        Current Cooperative Extension employees eligible for Director’s position

·        Sharing Cooperative Extension positions with other counties

·        Sheppard Mill Project

·        $7500 funding for Regional Tourism Initiative – not proposed by the County Manager

·        Capital Reserve Fund = $56,000 for Maintenance & Repairs –Ambulances

·        Capital Reserve Fund - $50,000 for new EMS Station

·        Possible EMS station to be located Sauratown Fire Department

·        Backlog for septic tank permits in comparison with the number of septic tank permits completed in 1996, ‘97, ‘ 98 with current years

·        Overtime pay for Environmental Health employees

 

County Manager Steen informed the Board that a meeting had been scheduled with

 

NCDOT officials, YVEDDI and the county to discuss the proposed YVEDDI project/grant for

 

June 21st.

 

Chairman Inman instructed Board members to begin highlighting concerns in the

 

proposed budget.

 

 

Adjournment

 

            There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Inman

 

entertained a motion to adjourn the budget work session.

 

Commissioner Smith moved to adjourn the budget work session.   Commissioner

 

Lankford seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                    J. Leon Inman

Clerk to the Board                                                  Chairman