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Commissioners approve new budget

GATESVILLE – The budget is approved, but not by a unanimous vote.

Following a public hearing held here last week, one from where a slight adjustment was made, the Gates County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the county’s operating budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Board Chairman Graham Twine cast the lone dissenting vote. Following the meeting, Twine said he would have voted in favor of the budget as it was originally presented prior to a last minute amendment that honored a request made by Gates County DSS Director Colleen Turner. That request was for an additional $14,451 to hire a part-time person to help DSS operate its Food and Nutrition Services program, one that Turner said was experiencing a 30-to-35 percent increase in applications due to the downturn in the economy.

Twine said he felt, as did other county citizens, that DSS was already overstaffed and he did not want to take money from the county’s fund balance to pay for another position, whether that position be full or part-time.

Meanwhile, the key number in the 2010-11 budget is 64. That, in cents, is the property tax rate (per $100 of valuation) that provides the lion’s share ($5.6 million) of the county’s $10.14 million General Fund budget. The property tax rate remains unchanged from the current year’s budget.

Other major sources of revenue that will help fuel the new budget include nearly $2 million in grants and reimbursements and a little over $1 million in state sales and use taxes.

Gates County Schools top the list in budget appropriations with $2.57 million in current expense funding plus another $100,000 earmarked for capital outlay. Debt service ($1.3 million) and DSS ($1.15 million) also have seven digits worth of appropriations in the new budget.

Other major appropriations are for the Sheriff’s Office ($802,118), Transportation – GITS ($515,624), Child Day Care ($387,901), Buildings & Grounds ($339,742), Administration ($281,502), Jail ($275,000), Tax Department ($248,179), Community Center/Recreation ($244,352), Communications ($170,000), Cooperative Extension ($143,059), Register of Deeds ($124,652), Inspections ($123,988), Health Dept. ($118,500) and Zoning & Planning ($114,111).

The total operating budget for 2010-11 is listed at $12,256,995. Other than the General Fund, that amount includes funding for the volunteer fire departments, the Emergency 911 system, the water fund and the solid waste fund. The latter two account for $1,620,205.