Budget process begins

Published 11:54 am Friday, February 27, 2015

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Just because there is a new group of county commissioners, don’t expect money to flow to every cause.

As department heads are turning in proposed budgets to County Manager Mike Ruffin, commissioners are considering what deserves funding.

“We have to be realistic,” said John Ferguson. “We have the obligation to do as much as we can for our citizens, but you have to pay for that.”

Mark Jones said he hopes the process will be open and fair.

“We have to pay for a new high school, so we have to look at a reasonable tax structure. We’re all going to have to tighten our belts. We’ll have to take a look at everything. The people of Davie County cannot absorb a massive tax increase,” Jones said.

The tax increase to pay for the new high school is expected to be about 9 cents.

Dan Barrett said county employees and departments have been good stewards of tax dollars.

“We must establish priorities … essential services in a cost-effective manner,” Barrett said. The tax increases (for the school and recreation) are a result of the voters’ desires, he said.

“The county is in good financial shape,” said board chair, Terry Renegar. “We owe that to the boards that came before us.”

If a department has a need, bring it up and let staff and the board decide how to handle it, Renegar said.

Ruffin said he will review budget requests from each department head before making his recommendations.