Archived Story

Southampton budget adopted

Published 10:25am Friday, May 31, 2013

BY LUCY WALLACE/MANAGING EDITOR
Lucy.wallace@tidewaternews.com

COURTLAND—The Southampton County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget Tuesday night, with Newsoms District Supervisor Glenn Updike casting the lone dissenting vote. However, Supervisor Alan Edwards (Jerusalem District) said he supported it “reluctantly.”

The $52,469,561 balanced budget keeps the tax rate at its current 75 cents per $100 valuation and does not include a raise for employees. It does fund the purchase of 6-7 school buses by providing to the schools $70,000 to cover the first year of payments, but does not include the extra $670,000 in funding requested by the county school board.

The budget shows very little change from last year’s version.

The General Fund expenditures total $14,260,904, which includes $2.1 million for Government Administration; $1.8 million for Judicial Administration; $6.5 million for Public Safety (Sherriff, 911, rescue, fire, forestry, animal control); $2.4 million for public works (refuse collection and disposal and building and grounds); $73,874 for Health and Welfare (Health Dept., Senior Services, STOP Organization); $261,772 for Parks, Recreations and Cultural (Community Concert Association, Rawls Museum Arts, Historical Society and Rawls Library); $379,574 for Community Development (planning, soil and water, cooperative extension) and $15,974 for non-departmental operating expenses.

The Enterprise Fund (water and sewer) expenditures total $3.7 million; the Building Fund (capital projects) estimates $1.8 million; and the School fund, including Federal School Funds totals $29.1 million or 56 percent of the county’s total budget.

Berlin/Ivor District Supervisor Ron West made a motion to adopt the budget as advertised, which was seconded by Supervisor Barry Porter (Franklin District).

During discussion, Supervisor Updike said he didn’t follow the board’s line of thinking “one iota”. He said that borrowing money (to fund buses) over a 12-year period amounted to $8.5 million in borrowed capital. “This is not living within your means. I cannot in good conscious say we didn’t raise your taxes — we did — by four and a half cents. I can’t vote for a debt for future generations to pay off,” he said.

Porter said he viewed financial matters differently that Mr. Updike. “Do we need the buses — yes?

Will we buy them — yes? There is no obligation for future buses in this budget,” he said, adding that he feels the county will generate future revenue but the budget before them was the one needing to be passed based on current restraints.

West said he agreed with Porter, saying that setting up a structured payment plan was the way to make a big item purchase when you can’t pay cash. “This is the best way I know of to structure debt. This is the only way, “ he said.

Dr. Alan Edwards (Jerusalem District) said he debated whether or not to

say anything but indicated that during the budget process “a lot of things came and went that weren’t

done in a public manner,”

he said, “I support the budget reluctantly,” adding

that he hoped next year things “would be more public.”

Capron District Supervisor Bruce Phillips said that he thought the board had used the “knowledge gained” over the budget process “to arrive at the best possible budget under the circumstances.”

He added, “We need to fund the buses. I hope we can do better next year. We’ve done the best we can this year. Raising taxes was not part of what we wanted to do. The buses are needed right now. I am in favor of this budget.”

Supervisor Carl Faison was absent, so the budget passed with a 5-1 vote.

  • A

    How many county taxpayers wait until they can pay cash for needed transportation ?

    Suggest Removal

  • chilimac72

    You hope they don’t complain? Seriously? Start to go down? Most schools are deficient in teachers and resources already, it has already begun. The difference is the commitment has been there to try to make it happen every year. Only so much they can pull off before they have no chance of winging it. I will say as I have said repeatedly, they were elected to cut out the excess in the county spending process. Instead, they have cut teachers pay (basic economics, when your pay stays the same and the value of the dollar decreases your pay decreases) and refused to fund their greatest resource. On the current course we are going, we will be helping Franklin move up the list by dropping below them.

    Suggest Removal

    • MyHometown

      Dito. You have to blame the state and federal govt also. They keep reducing funding while they tighten standards and requirements. I’m all for high standards but the rural localities with little to no industry will continue to be left behind by the metropolitan areas.
      No child left behind? Yea right.

      Suggest Removal

  • Natalya

    I hope people don’t complain if the school system starts to go downhill.

    Suggest Removal

  • Chip Schott

    Thanks to the supervisors, but I do not agree. I know it must be a difficult job to have; which is why most people (including my lazy self) don’t run for the office.

    Suggest Removal

    • blackwaterpete

      Bottom line here is Glenn Updike is an idiot. How the people of his district voted that moron in I don’t know. He showboats and does not know his ass from first base. If there is a call for a village idiot he is the man. Now on to the school system. People it already sucks. The cheerleader running the high needs to be shown the door. The 1980′s hair do and the perky rah rah cheerleader attitude along with the cut your throat if you do not do what I tell you needs to go. This school systems needs a complete revamp. The old super ran it into the ground with his spending but not on the teachers. I think a call needs to be made to see where all the money is going to and I think you may be suprised

      Suggest Removal

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