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The board tabled the idea of a $5.3 million addition to the 2013-14 fiscal year budget.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
After listening to a public comment session Tuesday night, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors tabled any further discussion of the requests for carryover funding to be added to the budget.
Monday’s public hearing covered the possibility of adding $5.3 million to the approved 2013-14 fiscal year budget.
But the school board’s carryover request, which asks the supervisors to reappropriate about $1.3 million in money budgeted but not spent by the schools during the past fiscal year, was the main point of contention.
The county is also seeking to appropriate about $900,000 in carryover funds and $2 million to debt service reserves. The supervisors previously approved about $1 million in additions to the budget, but those were up for public comment as well.
Carryover funds from any division, such as the schools, are turned over to the county by law, but can be returned at the supervisors’ discretion.
Most of the residents who took to the microphone voiced thoughts on the school carryover request that wavered between skepticism and outright opposition.
Bradford Archer, the Republican Party chairman for the county and a candidate for treasurer, cautioned the supervisors that the country’s current perilous economic situation could create lower revenues.
He said the funds saved from last year’s budget would be better used as a cushion protecting the county from the possible decline.
Two school board members and two challengers for board of supervisors seats — Joyce Gordon and Jeff Worley — rebutted those speaking against the funding.
Bill Brush, a school board member from the Gills Creek District, listed the projects for which the schools intend to use the funds — among them a new set of school buses and a server building.
When the comments had all been heard, Supervisor Bob Camicia made the motion to table the appropriations until the November supervisors meeting, citing uncertainty about what the school board hopes to do with the money.
The supervisor took a moment to caution the crowd against condemning the schools, since the money being requested was saved last year.
“The school system underran that budget,” Camicia said. “In government, you don’t find that very often. I think we have to be careful to encourage that to continue.”
His motion passed 6-1, with the lone dissenting vote coming from Supervisor Bobby Thompson.
After the meeting, Camicia said he expects the funds will return to the schools as they have in years past, but he is hoping to gain a better understanding of how they will be used during Thursday’s initial meeting of a joint committee on which he will sit along with Brush, Supervisor Cline Brubaker and school board member G.B. Washburn.
Specifically, Camicia said, he hopes to address how the schools will pay for a desired career and technical center.
Still, schools Superintendent Mark Church said the school system doesn’t have a fund where capital savings can be stored. That comes from the supervisors.
As a counter to the scrutiny over the schools’ priorities, Brush said he hoped to hear what the county plans to do with its carryover money.
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