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BOS talks budget funding

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) held a work session Monday, May 4, to discuss options on how to fund the FY 2021 county budget.

County Administrator Dan Witt told BOS members the conservative budget was a balanced one that included “no fluff.”

The budget synopsis presented totaled $53,413,566. Of that $21,333,600 is for school funding.

The local county funding for schools is proposed to be $3,906,775.

While members discussed how to fund the budget and what possibly to cut, Cullen/Red House Supervisor, Tony Reeves asked, “Why can’t we give the schools 3.7 million instead of 3.9?” Reeves continued to say that he was just asking the question and still learning how things worked.

This is Reeves’ first term as a BOS member. He was elected in November.

Wylliesburg/Red Oak Supervisor Kay Pierantoni said the board needed to look at the overall picture and not just the schools.

“We’ve got to tighten up,” she said. “We need to look at the revenue before we talk about anything.”

Members talked about how the county revenue would be affected once meals and sales tax numbers come in and how decreases would affect the county’s finances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pierantoni brought up the possibility of a hiring freeze, adding that no non-essential purchases should be made.

“Can’t we say no non-essentials can be purchased until we find out more down the road?” she said, using the example of a department wanting to order office furniture, possibly.

“If something is in the budget, it does not necessarily mean it needs to be spent,” County Seat Supervisor Gary Walker said.

Supervisor Walker suggested the BOS approve the budget.

“Let’s approve this blueprint and have the understanding that no one is going to spend anything until we know more,” he said.

Pierantoni also pointed out that several citizens had addressed the BOS in the past requesting BOS members not to take the county health insurance in an effort to save the county money.

Chairman Garland Hamlett, Supervisor Walker, and Supervisor Robert Shook currently are the only members who take the county health insurance costing $23,409.

Monday evening’s budget work session also included the following:

  • The General Assembly adopted a budget for elections to provide full reimbursement for salaries of general registrars and electoral board members and to fund costs associated with the presidential primary.
  • Virginia Retirement System rates increased 1.37% with an estimated increase of $30,000 in local funds (Included in budget.) The employees’ rate of 5% did not change, only the employers.
  • Health insurance rates increased 2% (included in budget).
  • The procurement/ purchasing agent & office assistant position for the County Administration office has not been filled at this time. ($59,180 included in the budget for salary and fringe benefits).
  • The treasurer has a staff person who should be certified as master governmental treasurer by November. That staff member would qualify for an increase in salary. The treasurer requested half of the 9% that should be given, (4.5%) ($1,112 included in budget for salary and fringe benefits.)
  • The electoral board and registrar requested a full-time worker. If funds currently used for the part-time position are used to offset some of the expenses, $20.000 in additional local funds will still be needed. This would result in two full-time employees and no part-time employees. At this time, funds are not in the budget for this position.
  • Judge Puckett with the General District Court is requesting to add a line item for “salary supplement” in the amount of $6,000, the line item for “wage hours,” in the amount of $6,000. and a line item for “travel/mileage,” in the amount of $500. (This is to cover mileage for ‘training conferences,” at which, required Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for clerks are earned.) If adding hours to the wage hour employee, the cost of the full-time benefits would be a local expense. At this time, funds are not in the budget for this request.
  • The State Compensation Board has approved an assistant commonwealth’s attorney position for FY2020. The funds for fringe benefits not paid by the compensation board are approximately $12,335 in local funds. This position was available in FY2020, but was not filled. The FY2020 funds helped offset expenses of the part-time salary and furniture and equipment needed for the new assistant commonwealth’s attorney position. (Included in budget with a $7,500 decrease to part-time funds, reducing part-time funds from $20,000 to $12,500)
  • The sheriff’s office reduced staff by one position, saving $47,380.
  • Maintenance service contracts increased due to new contracts that do not cover maintenance as part of the initial purchase contract. License agreements for tower was increased due to towers needed for the new communication system. (Included in budget)
  • Fire departments requested $36,000 for the capital projects fund. (Not in budget)
  • A request was received from Chesterfield County Fire and EMS for $300 to support the regional Med-Flight Program. (Included in budget)
  • $10,000 was added due to potential salary increase and recruitment of a new director of public works and maintenance. (Included in budget)
  • In the budget at this time, recycling centers are open four days a week for 11 hours per day and four hours on Sundays. Also, the minimum wage rate of $9.50 effective January 2021 was taken into consideration. (Minimum wage increase was not effective until May 1, 2020, therefore the FY20/21 budget can be reduced $7,335) The impact of the $9.50/hour wage increase for two months of FY20/21 is $3,668. In FY2022, the amount will be $22,000. (This reduction is not yet in the budget).
  • Part-time maintenance worker cost was divided between E911 and buildings and grounds. Cost is now totally under buildings and grounds. (Included in buildings and grounds budget but taken out of E911).
  • $10,000 is for third-party review charges for solar projects. The $10,000 is also included on the revenue side because applicants will reimburse the county for these charges. (Included in budget)
  • In the FY2020 budget there was $158,498. for broadband, which can be an unexpended carry-over in general fund dollars. At this time, $100,000 is in the budget until work session discussions.
  • Piedmont Senior Resources requested an increase of $2,322. (The board voted to include the increase in budget.)
  • The Department of Social Services is receiving state funds to increase base salaries for social workers and eligibility workers and deal with compression salary issues. The total additional local funds is $3,729.