By Teresa Gulyas, Greene County Field Officer
In November, 1982 Ronald Reagan was warming up for his radio address and didn’t realize he was connected to the microphone when he said, “I’ve talked to you on a number of occasions about the economic problems our nation faces, and I am prepared to tell you it’s in a hell of a mess.” Here we go again – FY2010 brings us budget shortfalls which means cutbacks for state governments and that translates to less money for local governments.
In a budget workshop on April 5, the Greene County Board of Supervisors discussed efficiency and planning as the key words driving the Greene County budget process for FY2010. With the majority of appropriations assigned, the remaining new local revenue of $593,172 was considered for addition to the school budget. Unfortunately, additional reductions in state funds for constitutional officers totaling $191,417 would reduce this amount to $401,755 if the county made up the entire funding difference.
After reviewing the individual offices and evaluating their efficiency, the Board made a strategic decision to cut $9,605 from the office of the treasurer and add it back into the new local revenue funds bringing the amount that could be added to the school budget to $411,360. School funding has historically hovered around 60% of the county budget and this is consistent with what is planned for FY2010.
Supervisor Mike Skeens (Monroe) expressed concerns over what appeared to be raises for Assistant Principals, Technology, supplemental salaries, and transportation. The School Board previously clarified that there were no salary increases; changes in bus driver salaries related to an increase in their routes.
Other Board members voiced some frustration over changes the School Board makes once budget dollars are appropriated but acknowledged that this may be a reflection of unanticipated changes that occur after the budget is finalized. Some of the Board of Supervisors’ frustration may be structural. State code mandates while they are charged with taxing the population and appropriating funds to the schools, the elected School Board has line item spending authority.
Supervisor Jim Frydl (Ruckersville) added that the Board will continue to gear policy toward prudent fiscal management of funds that may eventually exceed required reserves. Management of these funds would be through three areas:
- putting a capital improvement plan in place
- allocating funds to departments
- returning money to taxpayers
The Public Hearing for the FY2010 budget is scheduled for April 27 at the Raymond C. Dingledine III Performing Arts Center at William Monroe High School Auditorium at 7:30 pm.