3/26/14 ABSS, ACC submit budget requests
By Chris Lavender, The Times-News 3/26/14
Reprinted with permission.
GRAHAM — The County Budget Committee received 2014-15 funding requests from Alamance Community College and the Alamance-Burlington School System on Tuesday.
ACC’s request from the county for the new fiscal year beginning July 1 is for $3,075,115, compared to $2,994,515 in fiscal 2013-14. The funding request represents a 2.7 percent increase.
ACC Vice President of Administration and Fiscal Services Mark Newsome said the increase would be used to fund the college’s security needs and maintenance contracts.
“The College is requesting a 2.7 percent increase in fund from the county 2013-14 budget appropriation,” the ACC’s budget message stated. “Highlights include general increases in contracted services, as well as a need for increased security capacity.”
“Growth in utilities costs has been contained through a number of measures, including replacement of aging and inefficient equipment,” according to the budget message.
ABSS SUPERINTENDENT LILLIE Cox presented a 2014-15 budget request to the budget committee that represents an 11.5 percent increase over the 2013-14 approved budget.
ABSS’ request is for $35,141,111 for operations and $1,269,780 for repair and maintenance. The total budget request is for $36,410,891, compared to $32,655,000 for fiscal 2013-14. ABSS received $32,405,000 from the county for operations and $250,000 for repair and maintenance in 2013-14.
Cox presented her proposal to the ABSS Board of Education on Monday. Cox’s initial operations budget was for $34,520,970, which the board directed her to raise by about $600,000 to set the per-pupil funding amount at $1,554. Cox said the $600,000 would be used for instruction supplies and materials in the classroom.
Board member Jackie Cole said Monday the school system needed to bring the county’s spending per pupil back up to its peak in the 2010-11 school year. Spending per pupil is down to $1,430 in the current school budget, according to ABSS, with recent tight budgets and increases in the number of students.
“Our overall goal is to put money back into the classroom,” Cole said Tuesday.
Board Chairman Tony Rose said much of the increase would already be spoken for with increases to teacher pay Gov. Pat McCrory has been talking about. While the state would pay those raises for state-funded employees, the county would be responsible for close to $285,000.
“So the same is not the same,” Rose said Monday.
The school system is using $3.3 million of its savings, or fund balance, in this year’s budget. But after several years of tapping into those savings, the fund balance will be down to $2.8 million next year. To avoid making cuts, Cox told the board Monday the district can tap into Fund 8, which is made up of money from student services like Medicaid and E-Rate, the federal program to bring Internet access to school libraries.
Cox called it a “one-time life raft.”
A BUDGET REQUEST for 2014-15 also was made by the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber president Mac Williams said the chamber is seeking $125,000 for the new fiscal year. The chamber received $111,646 from the county in 2013-14. The chamber’s funding request for 2014-15 represents a $13,354 increase over the current fiscal year. Williams said the $125,000 amount matches the maximum provided to the chamber in previous budget cycles.
“The request gets us back to the original level several years back,” Williams said.
The funding was necessary to allow the chamber to continue working with existing business and attracting new companies to expand the county’s tax base and create new jobs, Williams said.
The Burlington-Alamance Airport Authority’s budget request to the committee was for $252,321 which was the same amount requested in 2013-14. The Alamance County Rescue Unit’s request for 2014-15 was for $891,860.
The Alamance County Board of Commissioners formed a five-member budget committee earlier this year to help set a framework for the county’s 2014-15 fiscal budget. Commissioners Chairman David Smith, County Finance Officer Tom Manning, County Manager Craig Honeycutt, County Finance Manager Susan Roberts and Commissioner Tim Sutton serve on the committee.
The budget committee will meet again at 9 a.m. April 7 at 124 W. Elm St., in Graham to discuss department revenues.
Times-News reporter Isaac Groves contributed to this story