Erin Zureick

Education, politics and observations from Sanford

How Lee County financials are faring

Last week at the Lee County Board of Commissioner’s retreat the board heard an update from County Manager John Crumpton about the county’s financial picture.

The following is an excerpt of the PowerPoint presentation. It reviews the county’s revenue sources such as sales and property taxes, as well as expenses (education, safety, etc). It also has some charts that help highlight why the county is having financial difficulties.

Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions!

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March 26, 2009 Posted by | Business, politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

North Carolinians on video poker, same-sex marriage

The latest Elon University Poll asked North Carolinians about their thoughts on a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, video poker and the death penalty.

Here is what the poll uncovered:

  • Nearly 53 percent of respondents oppose video poker being available throughout North Carolina (about 29 percent supported it).
  • More than 69 percent of respondents opposed a juvenile (younger than 18) being given the death penalty for a crime.
  • When it came to same-sex marriage: 44.4 percent opposed any recognition for same-sex marriage; 27.5 percent supported civil unions/partnerships but not full marriage rights; 20.8 percent supported full marriage rights
  • 50.4 percent of respondents said they would oppose a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (43.3 percent would support an amendment).

March 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Speak out about the school budget

Are you a parent or Lee County resident worried about the effect budget cuts could have on education?

Then the Lee County Board of Education meeting Tuesday is for you. As part of its budget work session, the board will hold a public hearing. Those interested in speaking can contact Susan Britt, clerk to the board at 774-6226, x 1217. Comments will be limited to three minutes.

The meeting will be held at the Heins Education Building Assembly Room, 106 Gordon Street.

The board will likely face making some painful cuts this year. The school district’s state budget will be slashed by at least $1.6 million, according to a proposal by Gov. Bev Perdue. That would eliminate some support positions such as tutors.

Educators are hoping to receive the same amount of money from the Lee County Board of Commissioners for the 2009-10 budget.

March 22, 2009 Posted by | Education | , , | Leave a comment

What the schools want to fix next year

As part of the first Lee County Board of Education budget work session this week, Superintendent Jeff Moss presented capital projects for 2009-10 that the school district would like to see completed.

The following documents show projects that principals or administration deem necessary.

A color code guide: yellow means it is a superintendent-recommended project. Gold means the school board wanted to complete the project this year but could not because education lottery funds were frozen (they usually help fund capital projects).

In all, Moss is recommending about $1.5 more in projects (about $4 million total) than the Lee County Board of Commissioners approved last year. Browse below to see if a project you think is needed is on the list:

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March 19, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Making a budget

The Lee County Board of Education had its first budget work session Tuesday, when Superintendent Jeff Moss unveiled his proposed local budget for 2009-10.

That budget calls for no increase in funding from the Lee County Board of Commissioners. Gov. Bev Perdue announced her budget priorities Tuesday. The district expects to have to cut about $1.6 million from its statewide budget. The school board has discretion of where to cut more than half of that money. And of course the state budget won’t be set until this summer by the N.C. General Assembly.

Locally, the district will save about $90,000 that it no longer has to pay for Lee County students who attend charter school Provisions Academy (which will close in June). However, that money will be offset by a legislated retirement rate and hospitalization increase.

Here is the timeline for the school district’s budget process, and see below for a breakdown of budget requests for expenditures (stay tuned for another post later about capital requests).

  • March 24: Budget work session school board (5 p.m. Heins Education Building)
  • April 22: Local budget requests due to county
  • July 1: County must act on school budget
  • Oct. 15: Board of Education must approve final budget resolution
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March 18, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Some county financials…

February’s financial picture for the county mostly continues the gloom of the U.S. recession, but there was one bright spot presented by Finance Director Lisa Minter at Monday’s Lee County Board of Commissioners meeting.

The county will receive about $261,000 from the federal economic stimulus to help offset Medicaid costs from October 2008 through May 2009, according to an estimate by the N.C. Association of County Commissioners.

March 17, 2009 Posted by | Business, politics | , | Leave a comment

Surplus sale set

Lee County Schools will hold a surplus sale on Saturday April 5 at 9 a.m. at the district’s bus garage on 416 Cox Maddox Road.

Property will be sold to the highest bidder and must be paid with cash (or personal check with identification). All sales are final, and purchases must be removed by 4 p.m. that same day.

Here are some of the items available for sale:

  • Office chairs
  • Teacher desks
  • Student desks
  • Water fountain
  • Rolling cart
  • Misc. furniture
  • Televisions
  • Book cases
  • Masonry saw
  • Water heater
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Folding tables with bench seating
  • Desk organizer
  • Printer
  • Various pots, pans and kitchen supplies

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , | Leave a comment

On the Lee County commissioners agenda

The Lee County Board of Commissioners will consider Monday a revised resolution opposing a Congressional bill that would make it easier for workers to unionize.

The resolution was first introduced at a commissioner’s meeting earlier this month that filled the meeting room to capacity and drew more than 10 people to speak in favor or opposition to the measure. The revised resolution offers the same stance at heart – opposing the Employee Free Choice Act – but tempers the language and tries to reflect comments and input from the previous meeting.

The new resolution was written by Commissioner Amy Dalrymple and Commissioner Linda Shook (who proposed it originally).

The Employee Free Choice Act, which was officially introduced in Congress this week, would make it easier for companies to unionize by removing an intermediary step in some instances.

A vote on the resolution was delayed to let Shook reword the document. One clause that is omitted in this version is a reference to the Communist Party of America’s support of the Employee Free Choice Act, which some commissioners deemed needlessly inflammatory.

Also on the agenda:

  • * County Manager John Crumpton is proposing an incentive package for employees who retire. Crumpton announced the proposal, which commissioners must vote on, in a memo last week to county employees. Declining revenues from sales and property taxes have put the county in a financial bind as it prepares for its 2009-10 budget, which begins in July. Crumpton proposes cutting 38 positions from county government. Sixteen positions are already impacted by a hiring freeze, leaving 22 positions.
  • * County Tax Administrator Dwayne Brinson also is bringing a resolution to commissioners that would push back the next property appraisal in the county to 2013 because of the unstable housing market.

March 15, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | Leave a comment

Boy’s & Girl’s Club fashion show

The Boy’s & Girl’s Club of Sanford/Lee County held a program fashion show Thursday night to help educate the community about the services the club offers.

The nonprofit club is one of many facing funding difficulties in the county, and the event marked the launch of its fundraising campaign, “It Just Takes One.” Club officials are hoping to raise $75,000 by the end of April. The club serves more than 1,400 children a year (for full story, see here).

Here are some photos from the event that didn’t make it into the newspaper:

Brandon Spruell represents the Club Cafe program

Brandon Spruell represents the Club Cafe program

Rising Stars is a program that takes children to local jails and teaches them the consequences of crime

Rising Stars is a program that takes children to local jails and teaches them the consequences of crime

Connecia Brown, the club's 2008 Youth of the Year

Connecia Brown, the club's 2008 Youth of the Year

Marie Lisse, 11, and Aaron Patterson are participants of the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs program

Marie Lisse, 11, and Aaron Patterson are participants of the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs program

March 13, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Lee County Board of Health notes

The Lee County Board of Health voted unanimously Wednesday to approve its proposed 2009-10 budget. The budget still must be approved by the Lee County Board of Commissioners.

Board members voted to slash the overall budget by 16 percent — and 11 percentage points of that cut would come from local funding sources. Most of the savings comes from the board’s proposal to cut the county’s dental clinic (and its three employees).

“This is a budget I think we can live with,” Lee County Health Director Howard Surface said. “It’s awfully tight. There’s not a lot of fluff in this at all.”

The department did not propose any other job cuts besides the previously announced dental clinic positions. Some employees in the department could be eligible for retirement, Surface said. The county is trying to find 22 employees to volunteer to retire to help ward off layoffs. The county commissioners still must vote on an incentive package for those employees next week.

March 12, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment