April 4, 2014
By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Henry County Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted to allow the Henry County School Board to carry some funds from the current year into the next fiscal year.
Following a Fiscal 2014-2015 budget workshop session, the supervisors approved several funding requests for the current fiscal year
Henry County Schools Superintendent Jared Cotton asked the board to allow the school board to keep $784,386 in carry-over funds from the current year’s budget for the next fiscal year.
The item originally appeared on the supervisors’ February agenda, but was deferred until after the county budget proposal was unveiled, which took place Wednesday.
According to Cotton, the funds will be used for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and lighting upgrades at Bassett High School and to implement phase 2 of the Magna Vista Warrior Tech Academy project.
Keith Scott, supervisor of facilities for Henry County Public Schools, said in January that the second phase of Warrior Tech would involve such things as adding a third large lab as well as a smaller break-out area for small groups of students to meet and work on projects.
At their 5 p.m. meeting at the Henry County Administration Building, the supervisors also voted to approve:
• The appropriation of $300,000 from the fund balance and the transfer of current operating funds of $75,000 to replace the roof on the administration building.
According to County Administrator Tim Hall, leaks in the building’s roof have grown increasingly worse, particularly after the hard winter, and all four floors of the building have experienced costly water damage as a result.
• The transfer of $91,000 in current year funds to buy three replacement county vehicles.
According to Hall, the new vehicles will go to the county Parks and Recreation Department, Building Inspection Office and the fire marshal.
The vehicles being replaced all have far more than 100,000 miles on their odometers, Hall said.
During the budget workshop that took place before the board voted on financial matters, the board discussed several items in the proposed budget for fiscal 2014-15:
• Hall told the board that Mike Amos, director of refuse for the county’s Public Service Authority, informed him Thursday morning that work at the county’s Stoney Mountain convenience center is complete. Hall said that the site will be staffed and running by Monday.
The board previously had voted to have the site manned because it was the only one of the seven convenience centers in Henry County that was not staffed. As a result, residents were disposing of unapproved items (such as computer monitors) at the site, costing the county thousands in additional recycling fees.
• Hall directed the board’s attention to the recreation section of the budget, pointing out that it was the only portion of the budget that factored in the hiring of new full-time staff.
According to Hall, over the last several years, the number of sites that parks and recreation is responsible for has increased from eight to 26. County staff recommended that an additional person be hired to assist Parks and Recreation Director Roger Adams.
• Hall asked the supervisors if they agreed with two recommendations that had been brought up during Wednesday’s budget presentation: the move to a self-insurance system for county employees and the transition from a yearly county auction to an online auction system through govdeals.com.
Collinsville District Supervisor Joe Bryant said he thought the online auction system was a good idea. Blackberry District Supervisor Jim Adams agreed, although he pointed out that the county should be vigilant in spreading the word of the transition so that county residents would know where to go to bid on auction items.
Hall said that an extra effort would be made to promote the online auctions within the county.
Adams also said that in his experience, a self-insurance system likely was a smart financial move for the county.
At the previous day’s budget presentation, Hall had explained that under a self-insurance system, the school system and county would assume direct responsibility for providing benefits to employees while also managing the assets of the plan.
Those participating in the county’s current health care plan through Anthem would see no change to their plans, Hall said. However, making the change would allow the county to hold on to a potentially significant amount of money that otherwise would go to the insurance company.
Iriswood District Supervisor Milton Kendall did not attend Thursday’s meeting.
The board will hold a public hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. April 14 at the Henry County Administration Building and vote on the budget at its regular monthly meeting on April 22.
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