05/15/17 — County manager will not recommend tax increase

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County manager will not recommend tax increase

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 15, 2017 9:57 AM

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Wayne County Manager George Wood works this morning on his 2017-18 budget proposal. It does not include a tax increase. Commissioners are expected to schedule a series of budget work sessions when they meet on Tuesday.

It will be another week before Wayne County commissioners begin delving into the specifics of their 2017-18 budget.

However, County Manager George Wood Friday said he is not recommending any changes in the tax rate of 66.35 cents per $100 of appraised value.

Wood said he could not elaborate since he is continuing to finalize the budget, but that it is "pretty much" the same as the current one.

While commissioners will not be discussing the budget when they meet on Tuesday, they will be setting up a series of work sessions and a public hearing on the budget.

Tuesday's meeting will begin with an 8 a.m. agenda briefing followed by the formal session at 9 a.m. Both will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the Wayne County Courthouse Annex.

Following their meeting commissioners will attend the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Hot Topic Luncheon on health care.

Janie Jaberg, president and CEO of Wayne UNC Health Care, will speak on putting patients first.

It will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Lane Tree Conference Center.

Once that program is concluded, commissioners will tour the Maxwell Regional Agriculture and Convention Center site on North Wayne Memorial Drive.

Wood will ask the board to recess Tuesday's meeting until Tuesday, May 23, at 8 a.m. for the first budget work session.

That meeting would then be recessed until 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 30.

The board also will be asked to schedule a public hearing on the budget for Tuesday, June 6.

Commissioners could hold even more workshops following the pubic hearing.

All of the sessions are open to the public and will be held in the commissioners' meeting room.

Commissioners would adopt the budget and capital improvement plan at their June 20 session. They will have had the budget for almost a month prior to the vote, Wood said.

"What happens is we have a fifth Tuesday in this month, and so that gives us an extra week," Wood said. "By state law I have to have it to them by June 1. So instead of doing it on the 16th, I am going to give it to then on the 23rd. Then we have that extra week. So we will have three weeks between May 16 and June 6."

Wood said he has spoken with Dr. Michael Dunsmore, Wayne County Public Schools superintendent, and that Dunsmore will present the Board of Education's new budget first on May 23.

Wood said he would present his budget at that time as well as the county's capital improvement plan.

Also at that meeting, Wood said commissioners would go over budget requests from outside agencies such as WATCH and Literacy Connections.

Commissioners would then have a full week to read his recommendations before the May 30 session, Wood said.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, commissioners will consider motions to:

* Adopt a proclamation for Older Americans Month in Wayne County.

* Approve an $8,822.77 purchase by Facilities Manager Kendall Lee of a hydraulic boom rotary mower with a 16-foot reach and with front and rear chain shielding and the appropriate budget amendment.

* Adopt a resolution authorizing Chairman Bill Pate and Clerk to the Board Carol Bowden to execute an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Division of Aviation, for a $113,850 grant for the corporate hangar area expansion project at the Wayne County Executive Jetport and the 10 percent match ($12,650) from Eastern Region funds and appropriate budget amendment.

* Approve a funding application from the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

In other business, the board will:

* Introduce Earl Marett, interim director of the Department of Social Services.

* Consider a motion to approve the lowest responsible bid of $522,107.17 by Benchmark Network Solutions of Cary for the county's fiber loop project.

* Have a presentation by the Wayne County 4-H Robotics Club.

Public comments will start at 9:05 a.m. Speakers will have four minutes to comments on their topic of choice.

Consent agenda items include: Application for Property Tax Exclusion; budget amendments; a motion to approve a public hearing on Tuesday, June 6, to receive public comments on the adoption of a Wayne County Incentive Grant for a new industry; and a motion to cancel the board's Tuesday, July 4, meeting since it falls on a holiday.