Inner workings of governmentPublished 6:50pm Thursday, February 20, 2014
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners concludes its annual retreat, a two-day session. The retreat allows the commissioners to discuss the county’s needs with department heads, school officials and others. The retreat also serves as a springboard for the commissioners and staff to begin laying the groundwork for the upcoming budget. The budget process likely will conclude sometime in June.
State law requires the county to have the 2014-2015 fiscal-year budget in place by June 30. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
The retreat, held this year at the North Carolina Estuarium, provides commissioners several hours of continuous work on issue important to the county. It also provides an opportunity for Beaufort County residents to get a glimpse of how county government works and what goes into the budget-building process. The retreat is open to the public.
The retreat began Thursday afternoon with a working lunch that included a presentation on Beaufort County Schools by Superintendent Don Phipps. That presentation was followed by a discussion on the need to upgrade the county’s EMS program to the paramedic level, including the estimated costs for doing so. Thursday’s session concluded with discussion concerning commissioners’ budget priorities.
Today’s session, which begins at 9 a.m., includes a presentation on financial-condition analysis and the importance of capital (major building projects and equipment purchases) planning. Bob Heuts, the county’s economic developer, is scheduled to discuss economic development, the future of the Northeast Commission and working with Greenville and Pitt County on economic-development opportunities. Jim Chrisman, the county’s chief financial officer and assistant county manager, is slated to discuss the county’s financial picture, including investments, the county’s fund balance and recent audit, which gave the county the highest mark possible for its oversight of the 2012-2013 budget.
County Manager Randell Woodruff and Bryant Buck with the Mid-East Commission conclude the retreat with a discussion about the importance of comprehensive planning to help guide development and growth in the county.
The retreat is important for the commissioners and county staff. It’s also important for county residents who want to know first-hand what lies ahead for Beaufort County and its residents.