Avery County Commissioners Adopt New 2018-19 Budget

Published Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 12:31 pm

By Tim Gardner

By a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Avery County Commissioners approved a 2018-19 fiscal year county budget of $29,638,311.00 during their bi-monthly meeting June 18. A highlight of the budget is that there is no tax increase from the past fiscal year.

All Commissioners–Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Blake Vance (Vice-Chairman); Wood Hall (Woody) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Faye Lacey were present. Other top county officials attending included: County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Finance Director Nancy Johnson; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore.      

Approximately 25 others were present at the meeting.

The following amounts are hereby appropriated in the General Fund for the operation of Avery County Government and its activities for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2019- 

                 

         General Government                 $3,741,804 .00     

         Public Safety                     $8,860,978.00      

         Transportation                  $1,359,584 .00     

         Environmental Protection                    $2,458,918.00       

         Economic & Physical Development                  $376,688.00      

         Human Services                $4,924,558.00      

         Cultural & Recreational                           $522,550.00      

         Education                         $5,691,172.00      

         General Fund Debt Service           $592,066.00      

         Other Financing Sources Adjustment (Lease)                    –      

         Transfer to Revaluation Fund                 $119,322.00      

         Transfer to Courthouse Project Fund                        –      

         Transfer to Capital Reserve/Project Fund            $1,926,900.00      

         Transfer to Component Unit (Airport)                $63,771.00      

         Total Appropriations                     $29,638,311.00      

 

It is estimated that the following revenues will be available in the General Fund-

                                            

         Ad Valorem Taxes                   $18,607,456.00      

         Local Option Sales Tax              $5,175,750.00       

         Other Taxes & Licenses              $480,000.00       

         Unrestricted Intergovernmental               $258,900.00      

         Restricted Intergovernmental              $2,159,105.00      

         Licenses & Permits                        $330,500.00      

         Sales & Services               $2,409,600.00      

         Investment Earnings                      $175,000.00      

         Other Income                          $42,000.00      

         Fund Balance Appropriation                    –      

         Total Estimated Revenues           $29,638,311.00      

                                                                       

The following amounts are hereby appropriated in the 911 Emergency Telephone System Fund for the operation of the system-                          

                                            

         Addressing & Data Provisioning         $47,101.00   

         Operating Expenses                      $252,341.00      

         Capital                                    $19,100.00      

         Total Appropriations    $318,542.00  

                                                                       

It is estimated that the following revenues will be available in the 911 Emergency Telephone System Fund –

         911 Charges                         $203,511.00      

         Interest on Investments                $375.00      

         Fund Balance Appropriation          $114,656.00      

         Total Estimated Revenues           $318,542.00   

                                                                                

The following amounts are hereby appropriated in the Fire Districts Fund for the operation of fire protection services-

         Fire Association                      $40,975.00      

         Elk Park Fire Department              $100,605.00      

         Crossnore Fire Department           $107,883.00      

         Linville Fire Department                 $544,200.00      

         Frank Fire Department                  $169,783.00      

         Green Valley Fire Department                  $94,080.00      

         Banner Elk Fire Department          $124,660.00      

         Newland Fire Department              $182,980.00      

         Fall Creek Fire Department           $101,353.00      

         Seven Devils Fire Department          $41,750.00     

         Beech Mtn. Fire Department            $60,250.00      

         Fire Commission                   $915,388.00      

         Avery County Ladder Truck Co.               $31,874.00      

         Linville Central Rescue Squad                $162,947.00      

         Total Appropriations        $2,678,728.00     

                                                                       

It is estimated that the following revenues will be available in the Fire Districts Fund-

                                            

         Fire Tax Levy Revenue           $2,678,728.00         

         Transfer From General Fund                           –      

         Total Estimated Revenues             $2,678,728.00      

                                                                                

The following amounts are hereby appropriated in the Revaluation Fund for revaluation of property in Avery County-

                                            

         Personnel Expenses                      $110,219.00      

         Operating Expenses                        $15,732.00      

         Capital                                            –      

         Total Appropriations        $125,951.00      

                                                                                

It is estimated that the following revenues will be available in the Revaluation Fund-

                                            

         Transfer From General Fund                 $119,322.00      

         Fund Balance Appropriation              $6,629.00      

         Total Estimated Revenues                 $125,951.00      

                                                              

The following amounts are appropriated in the Pool Project Fund for the construction of a new Swimming Pool-

                                            

         General Construction                $2,245,074.00      

         Architect/Engineering/Consulting Fees            $171,213.00      

         Permits, Insurance, Surveys, Other                   $22,000.00      

         Furniture                                 $10,000.00      

         Site Prep                               $524,765 .00     

         Total Appropriations               $2,973,052 .00     

                                            

It is estimated that the following revenues will be available in the Pool Project Fund-

                                            

         Grant Proceeds                    $187,000.00      

         Fund Balance Appropriation      $2,786,052.00      

         Total Estimated Revenues             $2,973,052.00      

                                                                       

The following amounts are in the High School Additions & Renovations Project Fund for the construction of a new classroom and office building-

        

         Architect/Engineering/Consulting Fees       $1,800,000.00      

         Total Appropriations               $1,800,000.00      

                                                              

It is estimated that the following revenues will be available in the High School Additions & Renovations Project Fund-

                                            

         Proceeds from Lottery Fund      $1,800,000.00      

         Total Estimated Revenues             $1,800,000.00

        

There is a tax at the rate of forty-eight hundreds cents ($0.48) per hundred dollars ($100.00) valuation of property listed as of January 1, 2018 for the purpose of raising revenue included in “Ad Valorem Taxes” in the General Fund in Section 2 of this ordinance.  This rate of tax is based on an estimated total valuation of property for the purpose of taxation of $3,943,241,340 and an estimated collection rate of 96%.         

There is a tax at the rate of seven hundredths cents ($0.07) per one hundred dollars ($100) valuation of property listed as of January 1, 2018 for the purpose of raising revenue included in “Fire Tax Levy Revenue” in the Fire Districts Fund. This rate of tax is based on an estimated total valuation of property for the purpose of taxation of $3,943,241,340 and an estimated collection rate of 96%.                  

Combining the .48 cents (General Fund) and .07 cents (Fire Tax) provides the county’s 2018-19 over-all tax rate of .55 cents ($0.55) per hundred dollars ($100.00), which was the same for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The Commissioners also (by unanimous vote) gave the following additional amounts (included in the total budget appropriation amounts) to:

*Avery County Schools- $75,000.00 for Operational Expenses to bring its total appropriation to $4,641,552.00.

*Drug Court-$10,000.00 to bring its total appropriation to $15,000.00.

In other business, Avery County Fire Association President Bobby Powell asked the commissioners to change the physical makeup of the county’s Fire Commission. In a letter to Barrier, Jr., Powell said the Fire Association voted last week to request that the commissioners change the fire commission membership as follows: to consist of five persons who are members in good standing of an Avery Fire Department or county citizens, with one appointed by the commissioners, three elected by the Fire Association and the remaining member chosen by the other four sitting members of the fire commission.

Poore advised the commissioners and Powell that any changes made to the fire commission would by law have to be done by the North Carolina General Assembly. By consensus, the commissioners agreed to draft a resolution about changes to the fire commission that they will discuss at one of their later meetings.

During the Finance Director’s report presentation, the commissioners voted 4-1 (Lacey against) to adopt a budget amendment for the swimming pool project fund to cover additional building costs ($1,786,052.00). They also voted 3-2 to adopt a revised pool project ordinance appropriating $2,973,052.00 for the project. The revenues anticipated to be available for the project will be transferred from the Appropriated Fund Balance and include $187,000.00 in grant proceeds. The previous amount appropriated for the project was $1,620,000.00. Hicks, Young, Jr., and Phillips voted in favor with Vance and Lacey voting against.

Other budget amendments approved by the Commissioners (all unanimously) included: spending $1,700.00 for propane at the new Agriculture Cooperative Building; $65,000.00 for jail inmates medical expenses; and to recognize $60,350.00 in additional revenue received by the Register of Deeds office.

 The commissioners also approved (unanimously):

*Appointing Hicks to serve as the Avery’s voting delegate to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. The NCACC Conference will be held in Catawba County, August 23-25, 2018. During the business session on Saturday, August 25, 2018, each county will be entitled to one vote on items that come before the membership.

*A Memorandum of Understanding between the County and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Avery Social Services Director Barbara Jones told the commissioners that the State is increasing oversight and control over social service departments and if they did not approve the Memorandum of Understanding, the State could take over the county’s DSS.

*Adopting a resolution to establish and maintain the Avery County Reserve Fund (Amended). The resolution states that the County may establish and maintain a capital reserve food for any purpose for which it may issue bonds. The commissioners previously designated funds for the renovation of Crossnore Elementary School in the amount of $687,500.00 and desires to create a capital reserve fund to accumulate moneys for capital reserve projects, including funds for the renovation/construction/improvement of Avery County High School.

The approximate periods of time during which the monies will be accumulated and expended for each project are as follows:

     1) Crossnore Elementary School -the estimated cost is $687,500.00 with a tentative completion date of fall 2020, with such sums accumulated up to that date

     2) Avery County High School -the estimated cost is $19,000,000.00 with a tentative completion date of fall 2020, with sums accumulated up to that date.

The resolution also maintains that the revenue source from which the money for each of the above purposes will be derived is property tax proceeds, with funds to be transferred from the county’s General Fund.

*A Home and Community Care Block Grant received of $191,113.00. The Grant money is utilized to offset costs for: Transportation; In Home Aide Levels l and 2; Home Delivered Meals; Congregate Meals; and Senior Center Operations.

The commissioners will next meet, July 2, at 3:30 p.m. in the County Administration Building in Newland.

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