Charles City boards meet, discuss budget priorities for FY20-21
With the focused intention of working together to figure out the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, Charles City’s Board of Supervisors and School Board came together on Mar. 10 to focus on addressing issues that face both the county and the school system.
County administrator Michelle Johnson opened with an overview of the current process along with the requests received from both schools and county departments. The preliminary numbers presented a baseline for the figures as both boards entered dialogue about what both organizations can do to get on the same wavelength.
While mentioning that several other details are yet forthcoming about the FY2020-21 budget, Johnson says she will be recommending eight new positions for next year as well as a two to four percent performance-based salary increase. Comments also made revolved around the fund balance, which is reserve funds (credit) that is used in case of emergencies. Additional ground was made discussing appropriating funds to schools on a quarterly basis.
Superintendent of schools David Gaston presented a preliminary budget to county leaders, harboring on the same figures that were given at his February presentation on the budget. Among his comments include the recommendation to hire 18 positions that include a new nurse, assistant principal, and instructional aides, specifically to help accommodate students with special needs. Gaston added information that include the desire to provide teachers a six percent raise, noting that even with the increase, it would make the division still 30th out of thirty divisions in Central and Southeastern Virginia, despite a starting salary of roughly $42,000.
Johnson spoke about the Capital Improvement Plan for the county. Among needs expressed to her by the directors including the replacement of roof on the recreation center, excavation equipment to help with wastewater repairs, HVAC replacement, and renovations to the visitor center. Gaston followed the county administrator’s presentation by pointing out to school CIP projects that include refreshing school computers, upgrading technology equipment (servers), continuing HVAC replacement, and the school’s track facility. Gaston added that the school board is considering an energy efficiency contract. If the school board approves that contract, the superintendent said it could be a game changer that could help with the projects, including the replacement of the school’s wastewater treatment plant that runs at approximately $421,000.
At the end of the meeting, Johnson said that while they can’t fund everything, it was a meeting that both boards meet.
“When you all come to us with your needs, we ask you what you all can do,” she said. “This was a meeting that helped provide the board [of supervisors] a better understanding of what the school’s needs are and let them know what our needs for the county are as well.”