Yancey County Commissioners adopt 2015-16 Budget

 

At their regular business meeting on June 8, 2015 the Yancey County Commissioners adopted the spending plan for county government for the coming fiscal year. Just like North Carolina, Yancey County's fiscal year is from July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016. This marks the second year in a row that budget adoption has occurred in early June.

Delivering his budget message to the Board of Commissioners and the citizens of the County, County Manager Nathan Bennett highlighted features of the adopted budget. According to Mr. Bennett, the budget addresses many of the priorities of Board including: the continued rebuilding of the county's fund balance, which was at a low of negative 9% in 2008 and is now at 7.5% according to the County's latest financial audit; maintain essential public safety and basic services; and make investments in infrastructure necessary to support economic prosperity. Mr. Bennett highlighted challenges faced by the County over the past several years including reduction in state funding for various programs, the reduction in federal assistance, and unfunded mandates handed down by North Carolina state government.

Other highlights of the 2015-16 budget include investments in economic development and making Yancey County a more desirable place to live and work. The budget makes appropriations to the expansion of sewer service to East Yancey as well as to TRACTOR, the regional agriculture processing center, for the continued support of agricultural as an economic driving force in the county. The budget also makes an appropriation for the continued development of Cane River Park in western Yancey County. This year the park has been improved to provide baseball/softball access for Yancey County Youth League games. Among the many other amenities that need to be developed are a field house/concession building, score boards and infrastructure developments in water, electrical, and sewer systems. The park continues to provide a host of recreational opportunities for all citizens of Yancey County.

In addition, this fiscal year the County is upgrading its E-911 system that began taking emergency calls in 2004. This year will see the addition of an enhanced serviced called Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). EMD refers to a system that enhances services provided by the County's Emergency Operations Center by allowing the dispatcher to quickly narrow down the caller's type of emergency situation so as to better dispatch emergency services and to provide quality instruction to the caller before help arrives. This instruction could include aiding the caller by providing instruction to administer assistance such as CPR or removing choking hazards, among other basic life support. This is an exciting change that will help all people in need of emergency services.

Mr. Bennett also highlighted an across the board 3% pay increase for county employees, only the third since 2008, and the maintaining of the current tax rate. Also, a pay scale adjustment was approved for employees working in the Income Maintenance section of the Department of Social Services. This was to aid in retention efforts as well as to deliver pay in line with trainings that these workers must obtain. An additional pay scale adjustment was given to Yancey County Transportation van drivers to make their pay more reflective of the responsibilities their jobs. In addition funding was maintained for Mayland Community College and the Yancey County School System.

Chairman Johnny Riddle stated, "I am so proud of where we have come with our financial situation since I first took office in 2008. Now that we are close to our financial stability goal we are beginning to be able to do more to meet more needs within the County. This is a good budget and I am very proud of it."

The adopted balanced amount of the Yancey County budget for fiscal year 2015-16 is $21,099,674.

Read the Budget Message 2015-16 document for additional information.

 


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