On the evening of Wednesday, June 6, the Caswell County Board of County Commissioners approved the funding for the FY 2018-2019 budget after a two hour session and much discussion. The Board appropriated roughly $400,000 from fund balance to fulfill capitol requests made by department heads during the process that had been initially taken out to balance the budget. There were no new positions approved in the FY2018-2019 budget and there were no cost of living or wage adjustments made.
“The Board had difficult decisions to make for this upcoming fiscal year,” read a statement provided by Caswell County Manager Bryan Miller. “There are several items that I believe weighed very heavily on the minds of the commissioners while trying to make the decisions about what to fund and what could be supplemented by existing resources or carried over to the next fiscal year’s budget. Some of the variables Commissioners had to consider was the potential for a 7.75 cent tax increase to fund new school construction, economic development incentives and growing the existing economy in Caswell and what level of funding that may be required, the growing concern of losing qualified employees to neighboring counties was discussed, what funding requirements would be necessary to improve school safety if the referendum were to fail, the need to increase the availability of local transportation options, and how all of these potential increases in the tax rate would impact our citizenry.”
“These decisions were not easy for the Commissioners to make,” Miller continued. “Teacher’s supplements were not funded as part of the FY 2018-2019 budget. A new social worker position for the school system was also not funded. The Board was consistent and deliberate when making these decisions across their funding responsibility platform. The Budget Ordinance is scheduled to be voted on at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board on June 18th.
The funded capitol items that were initially removed but have been included by the BoCC are as follows:
Voting Machines - $165,000
John Deere Mower - $12,000
HVAC - $15,000
Elevator Upgrade - $6,000
Replace HVAC/29 year - $6,900
Replace HVAC/30 year - $7,000
Restroom remodel - $33,000
#3 VCT Tile - $7,854
Generator/Pump Station - $25,835
Pave Parking Lot & Driveway - $7,500
Vehicles (5) - $160,000 (approximate)
Health Dept. - $71,354
—Security System, Wireless Internet Upgrade, Wiring for Upgrade
Phone System - $8,000 (over current expense)
ADA Compliance - $61,000
One County Commissioner who was not present at the June 6 meeting - Sterling Carter - took to social media to express his displeasure not only with the fact that teacher supplements were being cut out of the Caswell County budget, but that he wasn’t made aware of the vote beforehand.
“I want to apologize to the public for being absent for yesterday’s budget meeting,” Carter said June 17 on Facebook. “A situation arose that was out of my control.”
“I am appalled at the vote that took place yesterday to cut the Teacher Supplement,” Carter continued. “It is clear that those that voted no have no respect for public education. Period. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. We are dealing with this nationally, statewide and locally. But let me be clear, this will be brought back up, and I will continue to fight for public education in Caswell County. It’s not over y’all.”