IOW supervisors take on invoice payments

Published 11:02 am Saturday, April 18, 2015

Surprises revealed during budget time are rarely pleasant ones as they usually involve unwelcome expenses. But the Isle of Wight County School System got an unexpected gift of sorts during the supervisors’ meeting on Thursday night. The board voted to cover the third back pay invoice for work that was done on the new Georgie D. Tyler Middle School.

“I was very surprised they took on the $285,000, and very pleased,” said Anthony Hinds, facilities coordinator and procurement officer for IWCS.

But Hinds added that he wasn’t really surprised the board is also taking on the payments thereafter.

“I believe the Board of Supervisors has a desire to do the right thing when it comes to building any type of school or of that nature. They were on the right track, in my opinion, for funding that school, including the Davis-Bacon component. I’m very grateful.”

As to how many bills remain, Hinds doesn’t know.

“I have no idea about how many invoices are left. The Department of Labor compiles the certified payrolls,” he said. “It’s very erratic. Sometimes there will be five or six vendors, sometimes three. We’ve certainly not seen the last of them.”

The money that the school system was going to use for paying the latest bill will now go toward replacing the sprinkler system at Carrollton Elementary School.

This issue has been of particular concern not only to the school system, but also parents and teachers at the building.

Both Hinds and Supervisor Delores “Dee Dee” Darden noted that feeling during the public hearing.

“It’s a major issue of the school board and supervisors,” he said. “They really wrestled with that after the speakers.

They [the supervisors] showed significant concern for the schools.”

“I think the parents at Carrollton Elementary had a lot of legitimate concerns about the sprinkler system,” Darden said. She added that the board’s decision to help the school system is “a move in the right direction.”

With this windfall of sorts, Hinds can promptly begin research on the project.

“The goal is to start immediately. I’ll be making preliminary phone calls for state-approved engineers on Monday,” he said, adding that an engineer review is first necessary.

“In a typical situation, school construction projects are best done over the summer. There’s less chance for injury of children, teachers, stakeholders, etc.,” Hines said, and added that work during that time reduces the school system’s liability.

Supervisor Chairman Rex Alphin, who confirmed the board’s decision on the invoices, commented on the meeting.

Alphin said he felt comfortable with the county’s contribution to the school system’s operating budget, but “as far as the capital side, we have some challenges. We felt we had to do something.”

“People spoke passionately about schools and fire and rescue,” Alphin said. “There were comments on ISLE 2040, but predominately it was for the school budget. People asked for additional school funding.”

In other budget matters:

• Before the meeting concluded around 10:30 p.m., the supervisors scheduled a special meeting to adopt the budget on Friday, May 1, at 9 a.m. in the board room. The county’s own budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 is for $70.38 million. By law, the vote has to be done by that date. But through action passed in the General Assembly, that date will become May 15 effective in 2016.

“It’ll give us a little more breathing room next year,” Alphin said.

“We met our goal this year of reducing the deficit to $1.6 million without a tax increase,” he said. “I commend all people and staff for coming up with a plan.”