Public may comment on proposed county budget

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 3, 2012

SALISBURY — County commissioners are inviting public comment Monday on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the budget at 5:30 p.m. Monday on the second floor of the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Rowan County Administration Building. The board will hold its regular meeting beforehand at 3 p.m.
The proposal by County Manager Gary Page does not include a planned half-cent tax increase to pay for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College bond debt.
In November 2010, voters approved a 1.25 cent tax increase for a $12 million bond to pay for capital improvements at the college. Commissioners enacted a quarter-cent increase last year and had planned for two more half-cent tax hikes.
In his written budget message, Page told the board that it can afford to forego a tax increase in the coming year, thanks to higher sales tax revenues and property tax collections.
The proposed budget is nearly $128 million. That’s an increase of $3.1 million over the current year, but it would take less money from the county’s fund balance — $6.4 million instead of $6.9 million.
Per pupil funding to the Rowan-Salisbury School System, Kannapolis City Schools and charter schools would stay the same, but total funding would drop a bit to match enrollment. The community college would get a 3 percent increase in funding.
The proposed budget would cut three county positions and add nine.
For the fourth year in a row, it would not include raises or cost-of-living adjustments for county employees. But Page does recommend paying back $375,000 for three furlough days they took in 2009.
Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners plan to:
• Hold a public hearing for the fiscal year 2013 Rural Operating Assistance Program.
The county is eligible to apply for about $235,000 in state transit operating funds. The Rowan Transit System recommends that the county apply for $94,000 for elderly and disabled transportation, $105,000 for rural public transportation and $33,292 for employment transportation for Department of Social Services clients and participants.
• Consider a $45,595 offer by Amity Hill Properties for the purchase of a county-owned property off Amity Hill Road. The county received no upset bids for the property, which is valued at $70,000.
• Recognize Tax Administrator Jerry Rowland, who will retire June 30.
• Authorize the chairman to sign letters of support for Summit Corporate Center and Performance Technology Park as North Carolina Certified Sites. Both sites were previously certified by the N.C. Department of Commerce in 2004 and 2010.
• Accept a Domestic Preparedness Grant Award of a standby electrical generator unit for the Emergency Services department.
• Approve a resolution and agreement for a deposit account at BB&T. The county currently uses a BB&T account for investment purposes, and the new agreement would update the bank’s records.
• Consider cancelling the board’s second meeting in July.
• Consider several budget amendments and board appointments.