Citizens speak on budget proposal

Published 5:03 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

Several citizens spoke in opposition and questioned the proposed fiscal year 2016-17 county budget in Charlotte during a public hearing on April 19.

“What stirred me into action a few months ago in how business was conducted was Terry Ramsey’s article on supervisors having lunch, at the taxpayer’s expense, and the appearance that county business was being conducted out of the public’s view,” said resident Kay Pierantoni during the hearing, held by the board of supervisors.

Pierantoni said that, according to the proposed budget, a total of $1,500 has once again been budgeted for meeting meals.

The proposed budget for the upcoming year totals just over $39 million and there are no proposed tax changes.

Ramsey, a Charlotte Court House resident, said in a letter to the board, “The county budget only provides raw numbers without explanations or highlights … it is common for the county administrator to provide a written budget message and supporting explanatory materials to the

supervisors and citizens to keep them informed and promote sound business decisions. I ask that the upcoming capital projects budget and all future budgets include a budget message, analysis and explanations from the county administrator in addition to the raw numbers.”

Phenix resident Brenda Overstreet said Charlotte is facing financial challenges that will either positively or negatively impact of those who choose to remain within in the county, based on the matter in which the challenges are approached.

“These challenges include the construction of a new courthouse and the possibility of a new school,” she said. Overstreet said there is an inevitable need for security and protection within the courthouse.

“As elected leaders of this county, the citizens have entrusted you to manage the affairs of this county with integrity, with professionalism, with honesty and foremost in the best interest of all of the citizens, not for selfish gain,” she said. 

Kenneth Townsend, of Drakes Branch, said all citizens within the county need to contribute in order to better the county.

Townsend said a large group of citizens were present at the meeting and everyone needs to be engaged in local government to help the board of supervisors out.

According to board documents, “the inclusion of any item does not constitute an obligation or commitment on the part of the board of supervisors to appropriate funds for that purpose. There is no allocation or designation of Charlotte County funds for any purpose until an appropriation for that purpose has first been made by the board of supervisors.”