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County suffers glancing blow: State budget’s hit not as severe as some had feared

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
County officials are breathing a little easier now that the state budget is final.
Commissioners and other officials had feared a multimillion-dollar hit as legislators tried to fill the huge gap between state spending and revenue.
“We’re OK,” Gary Page, county manager, said Friday.
The county will take a hit of about $330,000 ó far less than an estimated $2 million if the state had backed out of the deal to take over all Medicaid costs.
Commissioners had delayed adoption of the 2010 county budget and setting the tax rate until June 29, fearful of being saddled with Medicaid costs.
“We dodged that,” said Page. “If they had made us participate in Medicaid, it could have been three or four times worse.”
Instead, the state has pulled the plug on revenue sources.
The state typically pays the county for holding state prisoners. The county budgeted $108,000 in expected revenue for the year.
The county collected $18,000 for keeping state inmates in July and August.
The state budget puts an end to the state reimbursement, but the county will continue to house the prisoners in the county jail. That will mean losing $90,000 in anticipated revenue on the inmates.
The county will lose another $240,000 in revenue from liquor sales, money that typically goes for mental health and similar programs. The state will now keep two-thirds of the ABC money that previously came to the county.
Page cited another potential cost to the county ó a loss of $1 million a year to Rowan-Salisbury Schools for repairs and capital improvements.
The cut is effective for two years and will total $2 million.
Page said the school system will have to use money from its fund balance or ask the county for assistance.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.

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