STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                   )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    JUNE 15, 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

 

Monday, June 15, 2009 at 4:00 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

                                               

Others in attendance for the Budget Work Session

                                                Stokes County Board of Education:

                                                Chairperson Bill Hart

                                                Vice Chairperson Sonya Cox

                                                Member Becky Boles

                                                Member Colon Moore

                                                Member Steve Shelton

 

                                                Stokes County School Administration:

                                                Dr. Stewart Hobbs, Superintendent

                                                Assistant Superintendent Donna Boyles

Executive Director of Finance Lanette Moore

 

Stokes County Fire Commission:

Chairman Clifford Hall                                                                      

 

                       

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

 

Chairperson Bill Hart called the Board of Education’s meeting to order.

 

Chairman Inman delivered the invocation.

 

            Chairman Inman expressed the Board’s appreciation to the Board of Education for the

 

joint meeting.

 

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 (continuation)

 

 

 

School – Current Expense

 

Dr. Stewart Hobbs, Superintendent, discussed the following issues:

 

 

The Board discussed the issues with Dr. Hobbs and the Board of Education.

 

            Vice Chairman Walker noted the need to continue to work together to try to provide the

 

best education possible for Stokes County and expressed concerns regarding the loss of

 

state funding.

 

            Commissioner Carroll complimented the Board of Education on a very good, tight

 

budget.

 

 

 

Commissioner Carroll requested clarification on the following issues:

 

 

In response to the meaning of “Local Freeze 2008-09” in this year’s proposed budget,

 

Finance Director Moore noted at this time the Board of Education has approved that teachers’

 

supplements would be based on the current salary even if the State increases teachers’

 

salaries.

 

            Dr. Hobbs noted that cutting assistant principals, secretaries, financial officers, etc. to 11

 

month schedule, furlough days for school employees, coaches returning to the class, are all

 

being considered and emphasize that “everything is on the table”.

 

            Dr. Hobbs noted the following regarding National Board Salaries:

 

·         Two teacher coaches with National Board Certification were hired and pay according to the National Board Certification

·         When audited by the State, State does not allow positions to be paid according to National Board Certification; therefore, budget reflects the difference in the State allotment and the National Board Certification recommended pay

 

Dr. Hobbs noted that some of the capital projects budgeted were not getting done on a

 

timely manner and when the State froze funding, the other projects were not able to be done.

 

Dr. Hobbs noted that this issue has been addressed and once a budget is approved,

 

safety projects will be done immediately.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted if the Hold Harmless funding is received from the State,

 

he would like to see the County appropriate $300,000 from Hold Harmless funding and the

 

Board of Education match the $300,000 (transferring from current expense to capital) which

 

combined with the Manager’s recommendation would equal approximately $1.3 million to

 

address virtually all the capital needs (this would be away to catch up).

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted that he had received the following questions/concerns from

 

concerned citizens and requested information regarding the questions?

 

·         Did School Administration pay to rent First Assembly for graduation services and if so, what was the cost? 

·         Concerns about the school’s summer work schedule

 

Finance Director Moore noted the cost for First Assembly was a little over $5,000

 

and teacher assistants are based on a 37.50 workweek and all other employees based on 40 hour

workweek.

 

            Commissioner Lankford agreed with Commissioner Carroll regarding a very good

 

budget.  Commissioner Lankford expressed concerns with the loss of the technology funding,

 

ADM funding, and approximately $400,000 less in lottery funding.  Commissioner Lankford

 

noted the County also will be looking at “everything on the table” and would like to see the

 

School System be allotted the same amount in current expense as last year’s allocation.

 

            Dr. Hobbs noted that if the House budget was adopted as is, there would be an

 

approximately $3 million loss in State funding to Stokes County.

 

            Commissioner Smith also expressed concerns regarding the loss of state funding and

 

would to see the County be able to fund the school’s current expense the same as last year.

 

            Dr. Hobbs reiterated the concerns regarding the loss of teaching positions, loss of teacher

 

assistants, increase in classroom size, state cuts, furlough days, and the waiting to see what is

 

actually adopted by the State.

 

            Chairperson Bill Hart noted the following:

 

·         Appreciate anything the Board of Commissioners can do help with the current situation and the willingness to work together

 

Vice Chairperson Sonya Cox noted the following:

 

·         Appreciate being able to set down and discuss the matters

·         Board of Education is trying save as many jobs as possible

·         Like Commissioner Carroll’s suggestion regarding catching up on capital needs

·         Hope the County can keep the school’s current expense the same as last year

 

Member Becky Boles noted the following:

 

·         Appreciate anything the Board of Commissioners can do

·         Concerned about the larger class size

 

Member Colon Moore noted the following:

 

·         Echoed what other Board members have expressed

 

Member Steve Shelton noted the following:

 

·         Appreciate the positive comments from the Board of Commissioners regarding the Board of Education’s budget

·         For informational purposes, the two teacher coaches who are receiving the National Board Certification salaries voluntarily agreed to not accept their local supplement

 

Chairman Inman expressed concerns regarding the loss of teaching positions, increased

 

class size, and the challenges facing the county such as possible furlough days for county

 

employees, no COLA, reduction in expenditures and revenues.  Chairman Inman noted he

 

would also like to be able to appropriate the same amount of current expense as last year.

 

            Dr. Hobbs noted that regarding graduation services at First Assembly, there had many

 

several positive comments with only one negative comment.

            Commissioner Lankford reminded everyone the County must keep in mind the County’s

 

Fund Balance in order to continue to move forward with upcoming school projects.

 

Chairman Inman expressed appreciation to the Board of Education and school personnel

 

for their willingness to work together

 

Service Fire District

 

            Chairman Inman noted that Clifford Hall, Fire Commission Chairman, was in attendance

 

for today’s meeting regarding the county manager’s recommendation which was different than

 

the Fire Commission.  (Policy for Fire Service District and Fire Commission and Use of Service

 

District Funds requires the Board of Commissioners meet with either the Chairman of the Fire

 

Commission or the entire Fire Commission)

 

County Manager Steen noted that his recommendation decreases the budgets of

 

Sauratown and Double Creek due to their confirmation during capital expenditures discussions

 

during the 2008-09 Fiscal Year that 2009-10 budget requests could remain the same.

 

            Chairman Clifford Hall noted the following:

 

·         The Fire Commission was aware of the stipulations outlined in the Board of Commissioners’ minutes regarding Sauratown and Double Creek Fire Departments

·         The Fire Commission felt that they looked at every item in both budgets and had no every to cut the budgets

·         Fuel cost and insurance has increased for both budgets

·         Would like for Fire Chief James Griffin to explain his department’s (Sauratown) budget.

 

Commissioner Lankford confirmed that both departments acknowledged that their

 

budgets could remain the same for the upcoming 2009-10 fiscal year.

 

            Fire Chief James Griffin noted the following:

 

·         Felt there was a misunderstanding with the comments made during the Board of Commissioners’ meeting-  his response was referring to no increase due to the purchase of the brush truck, but there is no way to maintain the same budget with the cost of fuel, increase in supplies, increase in utilities, etc.

·         Department submitted  a slim line budget with no room for cuts, only $1436 increase

·         Department received a $28,000 State grant which requires a 50/50 match

·         Questioned if other departments such as Danbury, Pinnacle,  Northeast Stokes, who purchased fire apparatus would be held to the same standards

·         If County Manager’s recommendation is approved, will have to cut two sets of turnout gear which is desperately needed

 

Chairman Hall noted that Sauratown’s call volume has increased during the past year

 

which also caused an increase in expenditures.  Chairman Hall expressed concerns that some of

 

the departments are submitting a financial statement and some are submitting a full audit, this is

 

an issue that needs to be addressed.  Commissioner Lankford noted that some of the larger grants

 

require an audit with the application.

 

            Commissioner Carroll noted that Fire Departments are exempt from a having to prepare

 

an audit.  Chairman Inman stated that this issue regarding audits needs to be addressed.

 

            Chairman Hall concluded that he felt the Fire Commission had fine tuned every budget,

 

looked for every possible cut, and delivered a proposed Service District Budget Packet to the

 

Board of Commissioners without requesting a fire tax increase

 

            The Board discussed the Fire Service District Funding.

 

            Finance Director Julia Edwards noted the revenue was estimated on a 95.5% collection

 

rate and there would be adequate funding to allocate the additional $1,436 for Sauratown and

 

$2,984 for Double Creek = $4,420.00.

 

            Fire Chief James Griffin noted that a pending bill will eliminate free training from

 

community colleges for emergency responders which will create an increase in all the

 

departments’ budget.

 

            Chairman Inman expressed the Board’s appreciation for the Fire Commission’s hard

 

work and dedication and commended the excellent job done with the recent budget

 

recommendation.

 

The Board unanimously agreed to try to find the additional funding for Sauratown and

 

Double Creek.

 

Closed Session

           

Commissioner Lankford requested if a Closed Session could be held at the next Budget

 

Work Session.   (Advertisement for meeting stated specifically – Budget Work Session) The

 

Board discussed the issue.  Chairman Inman directed the Clerk to investigate the possibility of

 

holding a Closed Session during a Budget Work Session. 

 

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

 

 June 16th at 9:00 am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjournment

 

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

 

motion to adjourn the Budget Work Session.

 

Commissioner Lankford moved to adjourn the Budget Work Session.   Vice Chairman

 

Walker seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                    J. Leon Inman

Clerk to the Board                                                    Chairman