Balancing county budget no easy task

Published 2:27 pm Saturday, June 2, 2012

The journey toward a balanced budget for 2012-2013 ended when the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors passed a budget on Thursday, May 17.

Back in March, the board had previously directed staff to adjust the first draft with emphasis on public safety and education while holding taxes at the current level and exploring different revenue streams.

The second draft in April included a total of $275,000 of reductions in various departments, including budget and finance, county attorney, human resources, inspections, and planning and zoning. Additional revenues were added, including the selling of some county property, the one-time use of unused bond funds, and adjusting income from recordation and emergency medical services fees.

The third draft included additional cuts in areas such as the board of supervisors, county administration, fire and rescue, county telephones, general services and treasurer’s office.

These added an additional $550,500 in cuts, or $825,500 total.

These, along with the aforementioned additional revenue streams; resulted in a balanced budget. The challenge was the majority of the board felt this budget underfunded schools.

Therefore, an additional $300,000 was added to the school budget from the county; the money will be taken from our unassigned fund balance.

Taken into consideration was an additional $250,000 of state aid the schools will be receiving. It is our hope that this funding level will be adequate for our school system to maintain the excellent performance level it has achieved in the past.

All of this to say a total operating budget of $95 million was passed.

In closing, let me say to you, the citizens, that the budget process is a difficult endeavor. I personally feel the sometimes overwhelming tension between a citizenry (I, being one) that bears the burden of funding, not just local, but federal and state institutions while at the same time being exposed to local governmental departments asking simply for the resources they need to adequately carry out the roles for which they were hired. It is my hope this budget somewhat satisfies both criteria.

This year, the majority of both the School Board and Board of Supervisors were new, having never gone through a budget process of this magnitude before.

I believe we all learned much, in the way of communication, expectations and accomplishing overall goals. I look forward to the next budget process — though I am thankful for a breather — and believe we, as a board can make not only the process more improved, but ultimately make better this place called Isle of Wight that we as a people, have chosen to call home.

REX ALPHIN is an Isle of Wight County supervisor for the Carrsville District and can be reached at