Buncombe County Commissioners preview: Budget edition

At its May 17 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will hear a presentation from County Manager Wanda Greene on the fiscal year 2011-2012 Budget Estimate. Greene is estimating the budget at almost $303 million, a 1.7 percent increase over last fiscal year. According to the report, there was little to no growth in the county’s sales and property tax revenue streams. The budget does not call for any tax increases.

Staff was able to reduce expenditures by $7.9 million for this fiscal year’s budget by implementing reduction plans submitted by county departments, and eliminating 93 county positions. However, expenditures are set to increase due to the construction of two new intermediate schools, a state mandated increase in the retirement system contribution, income maintenance caseload growth and state budget shifts in social services, funding for health insurance, workers compensation and unemployment claims, debt service for the Courthouse Phase II project, fuel contingency, and recycling expenditures shifting from solid waste. Also included in new expenditures is $150,000 for a compensation study to ensure that the county has balance in its compensation to staff and Commissioners.

The budget plan also calls for the county to use almost $7.9 million in reserve fund balance appropriations to balance the budget, the largest amount since at least 2003. Such appropriations are used to meet budget requirements due to revenue shortfalls, and historically, the county has saved the appropriated amount of those expenditures.

Also on Commissioners’ agenda is approval of a social-media policy for Buncombe County employees, volunteers, consultants, service providers, and contractors performing business on behalf of a county agency or department. The policy establishes rules for behavior for social-media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and it restricts employees from acting on behalf of and representing Buncombe County on social media-sites without approval of the county manager and public relations director. The county also recently updated its website.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 17, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.


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