Board of Supervisors : 4.23.09


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Present: Mr. Allen Hale, Ms. Connie Brennan, Mr. Tommy Bruguiere,
Mr. Tommy Harvey and Mr. Joe Dan Johnson

COURTHOUSE PROJECT/TOWER LOCATION – Ms. Susan Rorrer reported that a 95-foot
monopole tower in a 50’x50′ fenced compound with a 12’x40′ equipment
shelter, emergency generator and propane or diesel fuel tank are planned for
the courthouse complex to provide communications for the new Emergency
Communications Center. She said that the site will provide a direct
microwave link to the tower proposed for High Top Mountain. Ms. Rorrer
presented two options for locating the tower – both northeast of the new
building with the second option approximately 75 feet northwest of the first
option. She noted that both sites have positives and negatives with the
first option being less visible.

Ms. Brennan said that she is disappointed that the Board did not hear about
the tower some time ago so members could have had time to think about the
location. She said that she believes the first option is the better choice.
Mr. Johnson asked whether there would be screening and Ms. Rorrer said that
staff has not yet gotten into those details but has focused on locating a
site to allow for completion of the design for conduit, cabling and power to
the site. Ms. Brennan asked that the design leave sufficient room to buffer
the site with some plantings. Mr. Bruguiere agreed that the first option
was the best and suggested using plastisol – black fence – so the galvanized
chainlink fencing would not be so obvious. Supervisors agreed by consensus
to direct staff to move the first option site as far to the east as possible
(given topography) to minimize the view.

2009 PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX RELIEF – Ms. McCann presented a resolution to
establish the tax relief rates, noting that the present relief is 59% and
recommending 55% as follows:

– Qualified vehicles with an assessed value of $1,000 or less will be
eligible for 100% tax relief;
– Qualified vehicles with an assessed value of $1,001 to $20,000 will be
eligible for 55% tax relief;
– Qualified vehicles with an assessed value of $20,001 or more will be
eligible to receive 55% tax relief on the first $20,000 of assessed value;
– All other vehicles which do not meet the definition of “qualifying”
(business use vehicle, farm use vehicle, motor homes, etc.) will not be
eligible for any form of tax relief under this program.

Supervisors voted 5-0 to adopt the resolution establishing the tax relief at
55%. Mr. Harvey said that he wants staff to track whether the state funds
the county receives for tax relief compare with the tax dollars paid by
residents, as there should not be a lot of money left over if those dollars
are supposed to go to tax relief. He said that he thinks this is another
backdoor way to raise taxes. Ms. McCann said that the staff estimates have
been within approximately $50,000 a year since the state changed their
reimbursement program a few years ago.

FY09-10 BUDGET – Staff reviewed the following:

Debt Service Fund – $3,077,301 pays all debt except a portion of the
middle school/high school project debt;
Capital Fund – $228,664 supports debt for the high school/middle school
project; the last contribution toward debt service of approximately $100,000
anticipated in FY11 leaving a fund balance of approximately $1.8 million
which could be used to supplement debt service or for other capital
Piney River Water/Sewer Enterprise Fund – expenses billed to the county by
the Service Authority for maintenance and billing have been substantially
higher than anticipated and operating expenses are anticipated to exceed
revenues by $71,367.
General Fund Revenues – Personal Property Tax revenues revised to reflect
a change to 90% of retail value resulting in decreased revenue of $248,087;
a decrease of $531,439 in total revenues (including all changes to local,
state and federal revenues)
General Fund Expenditures – After a correction of $49,890 and an
additional transfer of $36,675 for expenses to support the Piney River
Water/Sewer operations, the decrease to expenditures were $32,240.
Contingency Fund – Reductions in recurring revenue, non-recurring revenue
and contingency for Capital Improvements resulting in a decrease of $266,981
(reducing the contingency from $676,842 to $409,861).
School Funding – Mr. Bruguiere reported that School Board staff had noted
a $267,000 shortfall remaining after level funding their budget and
including stimulus money. Mr. Carter reported that his calculations
indicated a $100,000 surplus. Supervisors directed staff to work with
School Board staff to develop an accurate presentation and set up a meeting
with the School Board staff and any School Board members who could attend at
the May 12th afternoon meeting. Supervisors directed staff to then
advertise the budget for a May 28th public hearing. Supervisors voted 5-0
to adopt that schedule (May 12th joint meeting/May 28th public hearing).
Supervisors tabled discussion of a list of possible budget considerations
– reductions to expenditures and increases to revenues – to allow them to
review the information.

Meeting adjourned.

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