Vance commissioners seek options in budget

Jun. 05, 2014 @ 10:01 PM

Commissioners are split on where to cut funds in the 2014-2015 budget.

At the fifth Vance County Board of Commissioners budget work session, the board finished the line-by-line review to debate what to recommend to County Manager Jerry Ayscue.

The board asked Ayscue to adjust the proposed budget to fund several new positions in different departments, including social services and emergency operations.

Commissioners asked the county manager to incorporate a flat pay increase for employees, as well.

Board members remained undecided on whether to increase property taxes and use fund balance; as a result, they asked the county manager to come back with several proposals that would incorporate those items.

Five county department heads addressed the board to plead their case for more funding:

• Director of Emergency Operations Brian Short requested a new telecommunicator position to handle increasing emergency call volume.

• Social services director Antonia Pedroza said she needed five new managerial positions to accommodate an increasing number of child welfare cases.

• Veteran Services Director Linwood Martin said he wanted more hours for his part-time assistant to accommodate veterans’ needs.

• President of Vance-Granville Community College Stelfanie Williams came to stress the need for increased security and the college's maintenance issues.

• Superintendent of Vance County Schools Ronald Gregory came to the meeting to talk about expanding career and technical education and science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Board members struggled to agree on how to grant the departments’ funding requests while keeping taxes flat and not taking from fund balance.

Commissioner Dan Brummitt said he understood the departments’ needs, but adding services costs money.

He said he does not support a tax increase or using fund balance. He said the board should hold the line and deny funding for any more positions.

Although most agreed with Brummitt, others — including Chairwoman Deborah Brown — felt the board should consider all options to meet the county’s needs.

After some 15 hours of review and debate, the board will reconvene next Thursday to get hear Ayscue’s amended plans.

Several commissioners said they were relieved to be done with the sometimes-tedious budget review process; others did not attend at all.

Commissioner Tommy Hester attended two meetings and left early during one, saying he had expressed his concerns about what should be included and had nothing else to say.

Commissioner Eddie Wright missed the last two work sessions, as well.

The final budget is scheduled to be adopted June 23.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@henderondispatch.com.