STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                   )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    JUNE 3, 2009

 

           

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

 

for a Budget Work Session in the third floor Conference Room of the Ronald Wilson Reagan

 

Memorial Building (Administrative Building) located in Danbury, North Carolina on

 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 1:00 pm with the following members present:

 

                                                Chairman J. 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                                                                                                                                                        

Chairman J. Leon Inman called the meeting to order.

 

Commissioner Carroll delivered the invocation.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT-GOVERNING BODY-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

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

 

Board with the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 

Budget Work Session

 

            Chairman Inman noted Manager Steen had submitted a proposed Budget - Option 1

 

which includes State Hold Harmless Funding and a proposed Budget - Option 2 which does not

 

include State Hold Harmless Funding.  Chairman Inman noted that the State Hold Harmless

 

Funding (only a few counties still receive Hold Harmless Funding from the State) is due to

 

sunset after fiscal year 2010-2011.  The Board discussed the Hold Harmless Funding, which is

 

usually not paid to the County until August, along with projected State cuts.

 

            Finance Director Edwards noted the following sales tax reimbursement changes:

 

·         Loss of sales tax revenue this fiscal year due to the economy

·         Revenue from Article #44 completely goes away October 2009

·         Revenue from Article #42 will be changing from per capita to point of sale

·         Cities/towns in the county will be held harmless from the loss of sales tax regarding Medicaid Relief

 

Chairman Inman noted the following regarding Option 2:

 

·         Does not include Hold Harmless Funding

·         Includes 12 Furlough Days for county employees (one furlough day savings equates to $32,762)

·         No longevity increases

·         No holiday bonus

·         Closing of greenbox sites for one full day per week

·         Continuation of selective hiring freeze

·         Vacant positions will be frozen until October 2009

·         Significant reductions in departmental budgets

·         Approximately $200,000 being appropriated from Fund Balance

·         Reduction in Departmental Supplies, Travel, and Training for all county departments

·         Furlough days (7.5 hours)

 

Commissioner Carroll noted that departments such as EMS, Communications, Sheriff’s

 

Department, and Jail (24/7 operations) must replace employees who take furlough days with part

 

time employees.  Commissioner Carroll also noted that furlough days for Health and DSS

 

decrease state/federal funding.

 

The Board discussed which Option to start with.

 

The Board unanimously agreed to start budget discussions using Option 2.

 

            The Board discussed upcoming fiscal year tax rate.

 

            Commissioner Lankford stated no increase in the tax rate for fiscal year 2009-10.

           

            Vice Chairman Walker stated no increase in the tax rate for fiscal year 2009-10.

 

            Commissioner Carroll stated that he decided the tax rate last.

 

            Commissioner Smith stated the tax rate needs to be set to provide the needs of the

 

County, trying not to exceed the current $.60 rate.

 

            Chairman Inman stated it is not the time for a tax rate increase.

 

Schools

 

            The Board discussed the funding provided by the County for schools.

 

Vice Chairman Walker stated that the County’s school current expense appropriation is

 

comparable or more than surrounding counties.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted that can be misleading, at one time the County was at the

 

bottom when it came to receiving federal funding (county funding is only about 20% of the

 

schools’ total funding).

 

            The Board agreed to review each departmental budget in Option 2 as recommended by

 

Manager Steen.

 

The Board discussed the following departments:

 

Administration

 

 

Animal Control

 

 

Commissioner Lankford recommended the Manager find funding in this year’s budget

 

(possibly from contingency) to have the concrete slab done as soon as possible.

 

Chairman Inman requested the balance of all contingencies from the Finance Director.

 

Finance Director Julia Edwards noted the following balances:

 

 

Chairman Inman, with full consent of the Board, directed the Manager have Public

 

Buildings estimate the cost of the concrete slab and have a budget amendment ready for the

 

June 8th meeting.

 

            Manager Steen noted that the State still has not made a final decision regarding lethal

 

injections, but the staff would like to go ahead with the lethal injection process.

 

Vice Chairman Walker requested additional information from the Chief Animal Control

 

Officer regarding the department’s desire to start lethal injections.  Vice Chairman Walker also

 

requested a cost analysis regarding the cost of lethal injections versus using the gas chamber

 

for the last 12 months.  Commissioner Carroll noted that it would be good to analyze the same

 

data with the projection of having to repair or purchase a new gas chamber.

 

Arts Council

 

 

Vice Chairman Walker suggested the possibility of the department reporting to the

 

Economic Development Director.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted that the Board must look at all options when reviewing each

 

budget, consider what services are mandated, what services can be eliminated, etc.

 

Contingency

 

 

Commissioner Lankford reiterated the need for the County to establish a personnel policy

 

requiring holiday time/non-exempt compensatory time being taken before vacation leave.

 

            The Board discussed the need for the County to implement a policy.

 

            Manager Steen noted that steps have already been taken to request non-exempt

 

employees use accrued compensatory time before using vacation leave and employees who earn

 

holiday time, use it before vacation leave.    Manager Steen noted his understanding was to

 

include a detailed policy in the revision to the personnel policy and not bring separate policies to

 

the Board.  Manager Steen stated he had no problems with going ahead with the requested

 

policy.

 

Commissioner Carroll suggested proceeding with implementing a policy requiring the

 

use of holiday/non-exempt compensatory leave before taking vacation leave.

 

            Chairman Inman, with full consent of the Board, noted a proposed policy could be

 

added to Monday’s Agenda.

 

            Finance Director Julia Edwards noted that the increase in the Regular Contingency has

 

been added for specific departments (24/7 operations) if furlough days are approved.

 

            Finance Director Edwards noted the new line item (401k Contingency) has been added

 

due to each prior year the amount of funding in each department covered all employees whether

 

or not they participated in the county’s one percent match.  This year, each department’s 401(k)

 

match is being appropriated for only those employees who are currently participating.  The

 

401(k) Contingency is for employees who decide to start later in the budget year or for new

 

employees, this saves county appropriations.

 

Cooperative Extension

 

 

Debt Service

 

 

Commissioner Smith noted his recommendation is to borrow funding for only capital

 

needs, not for recurring items such as vehicles.

 

District Resource Center

 

 

Economic Development

 

 

Commissioner Lankford noted the need for the director to use a county car whenever

 

possible.

 

Elections

 

 

 

 

Emergency Communications

 

 

Emergency Management

 

 

Emergency Medical Services

 

 

Vice Chairman Walker suggested additional information regarding front line ambulances.

 

Clerk Darlene Bullins reported (per EMS Director Stevens)  regarding equipment:

 

 

Environmental Health

 

 

Commissioner Carroll noted that the Board of Health is considering recommending

 

changes in the fee structure to be more in line with other counties and actual cost of service.  Fee

 

committee will be presenting recommendations to the Board of Health next week.

 

            Commissioner Lankford requested a cost analysis pertaining to the cost of well permits.

 

Finance

 

 

Fire Marshal

 

(works from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon each day)

 

Forsyth Technical

 

 

Manager Steen noted that $700,000 has been included in the financial model in order to

 

move forward to provide a place for students in the Early College Program, county must have a

 

location by August 2010.

 

            Chairman Inman noted the next Budget Work Session is scheduled for Tuesday, June 9th

 

at 2:00 pm.

 

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