Board modifies proposed budget

Published 7:15 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reductions here. Eliminations there. Additions, too.

That’s what happened to Beaufort County’s proposed 2013-2014 budget during the Board of Commissioners’ budget work session Tuesday. Commissioners spent about five hours on adjusting the proposed budget before adjourning several minutes past 10 p.m.

The board will conduct a public hearing on the proposed budget at 7 p.m. Monday at the county administrative offices at 121 W. Third St., Washington. There is a possibility the hearing could be moved to the Beaufort County Courthouse to accommodate the number of people who may want to discuss the proposed budget.

The recommended budget keeps the property tax rate at 53 cents per $100 valuation. That means the annual county property taxes on a $100,000 house remains at $530.

The proposed spending plan, presented to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners earlier this month, does not increase fees for services nor does it reduce the levels of services the county provides to the public.

The county is required to have the 2013-2014 fiscal-year budget in place by June 30. The overall proposed budget is about $54 million.

During their budget work session Tuesday, the commissioners took nonbinding straw polls on several budget-related matters, but the results of those straw polls usually show up in the approved budget.

As it stands now, the following changes were among several made to the proposed budget:

• Reducing Beaufort County Schools’ proposed $12 million current expense budget (day-to-day operations) by $160,000.

• Removing two upgraded positions from the proposed budget for the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

• Adding a full-time position to the Beaufort County Board of Elections staff and reducing the allocation for overtime in the board’s proposed budget.

By way of another nonbinding straw poll, the board unanimously voted to allocate up to $40,000 in the upcoming budget to install stainless-steel shower stalls in the jail. Commissioner Gary Brinn pushed for the allocation, saying he noticed the appalling condition of the existing shower facility during a recent tour of the jail.

Although the proposed budget has the county providing funds to recreation programs run by municipalities in the county, the board chose not provide such funding to the City of Washington, with some commissioners saying the city does not operate sports programs. The city provides facilities what are used by sports leagues that run the sports programs, those commissioners noted.

The city contends the county should provide funding to it like it does the other municipalities in the county.

For more coverage of the board’s meeting, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike