Surry Supervisors work through busy Thursday agenda

The board approved consent items, voted on resolutions and received updates ongoing projects throughout the county. The board also set dates for upcoming public hearings. The board tabled one item, a request from the school board to carryover funds from the last fiscal year into fiscal year 2016-2017.

“They are requesting $225,000 and of course this is all contingent upon being certified through the audit process,” county administrator Tyrone W. Franklin said. “The required action is to use carryover funds from the 2015-2016 budget in the 2016-2017budget for a maintenance contract they want to enter into.”

The board had questions for the school board, but there was no school board representative present at the Thursday night meeting. Among the questions were whether or not the carryover funds would be properly used towards a contract.

“I’m all for reallocating unspent funds, but their purpose should be for one-time purchases, capital purchases,” supervisor John M. Seward said. “This, unless they don’t plan on doing a contract next year, is a recurring expense. When you do this for a one-time expenditure, you don’t know that you won’t have these funds again next year, so as far as a maintenance contract and ongoing costs, you come up with a budget deficit at the start of your year. Again, that is a management decision. It doesn’t sound like a good place for the school board to go.”

It was during a May 31 school board meeting where superintendent Stanley O. Jones proposed leaving $225,000 in the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget as a contingency to provide raises in the face of level funding from the board of supervisors. The funds came from the categories of administration and health, pupil transportation, and operation and maintenance.

The school board was not entirely comfortable with the measure, but superintendent Jones assured the board that what he was doing was legal, saying the county had to provide 80 percent of the school boards budget and that the county would not leave the schools out in the cold.

The May budget meeting and public hearing following the school board’s decision to create the $225,000 contingency for teachers featured heavy representation on behalf of Surry schools and educators. The message to the board of supervisors was clear: approve the school’s budget as it is presented to provide pay raises.

The outcome was level funding, and that $225,000 is back under the auspice of maintenance funds though superintendent Jones said this was a contingency. The board of supervisors seemed unaware of the actual intent of the carryover funds, and had nobody to turn to for answers. The funds aren’t going anywhere until the board of supervisors can get some answers, as the board agreed to table the item.

Brian Camden updated the board on upcoming and ongoing projects. A joint permit application has been submitted to the Virginia Marine Resource Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the marina and fishing pier project. The project significantly impacts wetlands, requiring evaluations from the corps and public hearings.

“Last Sunday, two weeks ago, we advertised the project to public bids,” Camden said. “We have received a significant amount of interest from contractors, everywhere from Maryland down to North Carolina. Apparently we are one of the few marina projects being done right now. There is a pre-bid conference scheduled for 10:30 A.M. Thursday, July 14 at the site.”

Planning director, Rhonda Russell, had more good news for the board. SES Techcom Services is eying Surry County in regards to expansion of broadband Internet access. SES most recently brought Internet to Charles City. Surry County has contacted several providers in hopes of bringing affordable broadband to all corners of the county, but SES was actually in the process of reaching out to Surry County when they received the call from Ms. Russell. Nothing is set in stone just yet.

Featured Photo: Benjamin May/Sussex-Surry Dispatch
The Surry Board of Supervisors discuss agenda items. Pictured are, Giron R. Wooden, Sr., Kenneth R. Holmes, Vice-chair Judy S. Lyttle, Chairman Michael H. Dreary, County Administrator Tyrone W. Franklin, Michael H. Dreary and administrator Franklin sees this as an opportunity to churn up some competition among service providers.

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