Stanly Board of Commissioners approves 2018-19 budget
In a special meeting Friday morning, the Stanly County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the budget for the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year.
For the 12th straight year, the county’s budget has stayed at the same tax rate of $0.67.
The new budget includes a number of increases in funding for various departments including a $455,000 increase to public schools in operational and capital outlay funding. Commissioners approved a 23 percent increase of more than $50,000 for teacher supplements and a $50,000 increase in capital outlay for Stanly Community College.
Vice Chairman Gene McIntyre asked County Manager Andy Lucas about the fund balance. Lucas and finance director Toby Hinson said money will be added to it at the end of the year. Based on the previous budget, the board had appropriated an additional $2.5 million in funds, which Lucas said will be more this year. He estimated the available fund balance could be between $3.5 million and $4 million “of capacity to spend on projects and still be above the 20 percent. I don’t think we should go below.”
Lucas mentioned four projects the board had slated for that money: The Riverstone Industrial Park infrastructure, a fifth radio emergency tower, the East Side EMS Base and the livestock arena at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center.
“Those projects are sort of kicking around out there the board has made commitments to, so we may need to use some of that fund balance,” Lucas said.
Commissioner Bill Lawhon asked about how much the county had committed to the livestock arena. Lucas said the board committed to “bridging the gap between the $1 million raised in the community and whatever the bid comes in at.”
Lawhon asked about the county money to fund the construction to be offset by future donations. Lucas said bids were due Tuesday and will be presented at the next regularly-scheduled meeting on July 9.
Commissioner Scott Efird moved to approve the budget, seconded by Matthew Swain, and the motion passed unanimously.
Final 2017-18 budget adjustments
The board also approved a year-end budget amendment to recognize excess revenue and other adjustments to the 2017-18 budget.
Hinson said a total of $108,534 must be appropriated as a fund balance “for projects in past years. That is re-appropriating those funds because the projects were not approved and done this fiscal year.”
The largest decrease came in the Juvenile Justice Lift Academy category, $38,766, while the largest increase to one general fund expenditure was $96,490 to the Browns Hill Road project. This year’s budget reflected $403,215 in increased revenue, for a total of $36,576,998, larger then the budgeted number of $36,173,783.
Fire districts received an increase of $50,902 overall, with West Stanly receiving the most funds, $18,000.
Stanly County’s Utility operating fund received $416,904 more in revenue, the majority coming from retained earnings appropriated. West Stanly Wastewater Treatment received an additional $42,700 while the Palestine Water Pump project got $38,047 in extra revenue.
The county’s airport got an additional $123,582 for improvements and spent $40,000 more in jet fuel costs because of increased purchases of fuel for planes using the facility.
Investment earnings and stop loss recovery totaling $1,190,000 went back into expenditures for paid medical claims and administrative costs.
McIntyre made the motion to approve the amendment, seconded by Efird and the motion passed unanimously.
Water agreement budget adjustment
The board also unanimously approved a budget adjustment of $100,000 to pay legal expenses associated with the Union County / Town of Norwood water agreement.
The board also adopted a resolution to authorize the county to accept electronic payments.
Stanly has already been accepting electronic payments for an number of years. According to Hinson, recently the state has been requiring local boards to formally adopt a resolution on electronic payments.
The resolution would allow Hinson to develop policies and procedures for pre-audits and for payments.
“This is something us and everyone else have been doing for years,” Hinson said.
Lawhon asked about safeguards, saying “there is a lot of fraud out there.”
Hinson replied the banks set up the templates and money sent out only uses those templates, especially if for a reoccurring expense. Approval for transfers must be obtained once they are sent out. Payments by check have safeguards as well.
Jann Lowder made the motion, seconded by McIntyre, and it passed unanimously.