Budget battle: Council preparing for next fiscal plan

Published 6:01 pm Wednesday, December 31, 2014

FILE PHOTO | DAILY NEWS LIFE LESSON: Members of the Beaufort County Boys & Girls Club help clean up a neighborhood as part of their exposure to the concept of giving back to the community that supports them.

LIFE LESSON: Members of the Beaufort County Boys & Girls Club help clean up a neighborhood as part of their exposure to the concept of giving back to the community that supports them.


Washington’s City Council is expected to complete its review of city fees and charges during its Jan. 12, 2015, meeting.

That effort is part of the council’s preliminary work on the upcoming 2015-2016 budget, which takes effect July 1 2015.

On Monday, funding requests from outside agencies such as Eagle’s Wings, the Beaufort County Boys & Girls Club and the Purpose of God Annex — were to be submitted. Those requests are scheduled to be presented to the council during its first meeting in January, according to the 2015-2016 budget schedule adopted by the council in November.

On Jan. 26, 2015, the city’s Finance Department is scheduled to submit a revenue estimate for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. That same day, the council is expected to begin its formal budget-planning sessions. On Feb. 9, 2015, the council is scheduled to review its funding plans for the city’s capital-improvements plan, which addresses expenses related to major equipment purchases and significant infrastructure projects.

Several budget-related items, including council work on the budget, are scheduled in 2015, with a public hearing on the proposed budget set for May 11 and a tentative date of May 25, 2-15, for budget adoption. City Manager Brian Alligood’s proposed budget is expected to be delivered to the council by April 13, 2015, when it may be viewed by the public at City Hall.

To help it better prepare for its upcoming budget-preparation season, the council is continuing to review fees for services and programs the city provides. In recent weeks, the council has reviewed fees and deficits related to Brown Library and the Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center, both operated by the city. The council also has reviewed fees the city charges for area youth sports leagues to use city sports facilities and fees related to use of the city docks.

Council members said the detailed information they are receiving about those and other fees lets them know if a specific service program is making money, losing money or breaking even. That information helps them make better budget-related decisions, they said.

Also, expect the council to pay close attention to funding requests from outside agencies. In October, the council decided outside agencies would have to make their cases for city funding.

The council has made it clear to the outside agencies that they will be starting from “zero” when it comes to being assured of receiving city dollars.

“We’re starting the budget process, and you’ve had confusion about outside agencies. There was one at one time that said they had never received notification from the city about the probability of being cut. I’m just saying we need to open up the process about how we’re going to handle outside agencies. We need to review the numbers that we fund, the allocations and what kind of reporting data they we need from the agencies about how the money was spent how the taxpayers’ dollars are being spent,” Councilman Bobby Roberson said in October.

“I concur with Councilman Roberson,” said Councilman Doug Mercer at the same meeting. “We have said for several years that we are putting these agencies on notice that maybe they’ll have to address their requests to the council each year.”

Mercer said the agencies should understand each year that their “funding will be based upon their presentations and the availability of monies in the upcoming budget.”








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.

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