WISE – The Wise County Board of Supervisors found themselves under the gun Thursday to get a draft fiscal year 2020 budget ready in time to hold public hearings and meet state deadlines.
Board members agreed at Thursday’s meeting to hold a recessed meeting on May 15, at 4:30 p.m. at the county School Board meeting room, where County Administrator Mike Hatfield said he would present a draft budget for supervisors to consider.
The board in April voted a real estate property tax rate hike from 62 cents to 69 cents per $100 of assessed value, but the way that vote was set down in the board’s April minutes caused board Vice Chairman Robbie Robbins to say that his vote for the tax hike was not described accurately.
Robbins requested that the minutes be revised to reflect that he voted for the tax increase on the condition that two cents of the seven-cent increase be used only to cover debt service on bonds for construction of two of the county’s high schools resulting from consolidation. On a motion from Board Chair Dana Kilgore, adoption of the April minutes was postponed until the May 15 meeting.
The board also received the School Board’s proposed $60.4 million operating budget by Superintendent Greg Mullins and schools Finance Director Beth Shupe. Mullins told board members that the school board is asking for level funding of $11.87 million from the county for fiscal year 2020.
Mullins credited Hatfield and the board with maintaining dialog and working with school system officials during the school board’s budget process.
Later in the supervisors’ meeting, Hatfield told the board that a two-cent increase in the current fiscal year’s real estate tax rate had not met revenue projections. He said he has worked with various county department heads to cut just over $6 million in budget requests while developing a draft county budget that could be ready as soon as Friday.
Kilgore recommended that the board recess the meeting until May 13, but some board members cited scheduling conflicts for that day before settling on May 15.