Erin Zureick

Education, politics and observations from Sanford

School board to adopt budget Tuesday

The Lee County Board of Education will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday to close out end-of-the year finances. The school district is facing drastic cuts because of a state budget crisis, compounded by a 4 percent reduction in finances from the Lee County Board of Commissioners.

The board’s agenda, which is posted online, reveals that school board members will consider recommendations for reduction in force — or layoffs — and other proposals from Superintendent Jeff Moss.

Those include recommendations for how to achieve more than $973,000 worth of cuts. Moss’ recommendations, which must be approved by the board, include eliminating Graduation Ambassadors, reducing some banquet activities and lowering local support for Exceptional Children programs.

Stay tuned this week for lots more coverage on the blog and at the Herald Web site about these possible changes.

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June 28, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lee County commissioners have packed agenda

The Lee County Board of Commissioners has a packed agenda for its 6 p.m. Monday meeting. The meeting also will be preceded by a budget workshop at 4 p.m. at the Lee County Government Center.

Here are some highlights:

  • A public hearing will be held to discuss the fire district tax rates. Several of the districts have proposed slight tax rate increases. West Sanford has proposed raising its tax rate to the maximum approved by voters (15 cents per $100 of valuation) because of a declining property tax base and lower collection rate. Commissioners will discuss adopting proposed rates later during the regular meeting.
  • A public hearing will be held to discuss proposed incentives for Score Energy, located on Tramway Road. The business is looking to expand its facilities on the site.
  • The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and 2009-10 budget ordinance also is on the agenda. The proposed budget this year is a 10 percent reduction from the previous year because of declining revenues (largely based on sales tax income falling).
  • The board also will consider numerous appointments to various boards (such as Parks and Recreation Commission, CCCC Board of Trustees, Board of Health, etc). Check back tomorrow for a fuller post outlining whose up for these positions.

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

The week ahead

It should be a busy week ahead for Lee County, especially with high school graduations starting this week. Three of the five high schools will have their graduation ceremonies this week.

  • Provisions Academy, a charter school, will have what will likely be its last graduation ceremony (its charter was not renewed this year) at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Dennis W. Wicker Civic Center.
  • Grace Christian School will hold its graduation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the nearby church.
  • Lee Christian School will have its graduation ceremony Friday evening.

Most of the public schools in the area, including both Lee County Schools high schools, will hold their commencements the following week.

The Lee County Board of Commissioners will meet at 3 p.m. Monday. On the consent agenda is an item to approve preliminary plans for two subdivisions off Steel Bridge Road.

Some other items of interest:

  • Commissioners will consider the county’s capital improvement plan
  • They also will hear a legislative update and assessment of the budget
  • The board also will hear a presentation about county water issues

As for the rest of the week, you can expect some additional school feature news as the school years wind down. Most of the schools will either conclude their years this week or next before they break for summer.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics, Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

Commissioner roundup

I’m back from Ohio and didn’t have a chance to do my normal roundup from the Lee County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday. My two stories in Tuesday’s paper talked about a potential new homeless shelter for Bread of Life Ministries and possible tax rate increases for some fire districts.

Several people spoke out during a public hearing at the meeting about the proposed 2009-10 fiscal year budget, which would shave 10 percent from this year’s budget.

Comments included:

  • Mike Gaster and David Dycus from the Lee Soil and Water board spoke out about the possible loss of one job from the two-person department. The eliminated position would be a secretarial job and some of those duties would be shifted to a secretary at the extension office. “It would be very crippling in the budget that one of those two positions would be eliminated,” Gaster said.
  • Russ Noel commented that the current budget at 122 pages is too long for the average citizen to read and comprehend. He said he would prefer if commissioners also issued a shorter statement that was structured like a balance sheet.
  • Susan Laudate, chairwoman of the Lee County Library board, expressed concern about proposed cuts because they might mean the library loses even more money from the state through its maintenance and effort funds. She said tough economic times mean more people than ever are using the libraries. “We’re just bursting at the seams,” she said.
  • Kay Ring, executive director of HAVEN in Lee County, said the state might slash 15 to 18 percent of funds next year. Lee County’s budget calls for a 4 percent cut. HAVEN works with victims of abuse and domestic violence.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

Full county budget recommendations online

County Manager John Crumpton’s proposed 2009-10 fiscal year budget is posted online now. The budget cuts about $6.6 million — or 10 percent — from last year’s budget. The next fiscal year starts July 1.

A public hearing will be held 6 p.m. May 18 during the Board of Commissioner’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Check back for more updates as I break down the spending recommendations in the budget throughout the week.

May 6, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , | Leave a comment

On the commissioner’s agenda

The Lee County Board of Commissioners will meet at 3 p.m. Monday. The biggest issue on the agenda will be the presentation of County Manager John Crumpton’s proposed budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss and Central Carolina Community College President Bud Marchant will both be on hand to discuss their budget requests. A preliminary county budget would cut 4 percent from both CCCC’s and Lee County Schools’ budgets next year.

Commissioner Jamie Kelly also is introducing a resolution against Senate Bill 1004 and House Bill 1252. The resolution states that the bill would “hinder local governments from providing needed communication services, especially advanced high-speed broadband services in underserved areas of the state.”

I’ll be doing more reporting before the meeting, so check back for an update.

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics, Sanford | , , , , | Leave a comment

More Lee County budget recommendations

Here is another document presented Monday by the Lee County Board of Commissioners during Monday’s budget work session. This one details where cuts could be made, ranging from schools to libraries and parks and recreation.

View this document on Scribd

April 22, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Potential personnel changes in Lee County

UPDATED POST: I got a call Thursday from Board of Elections Director Nancy Kimble asking about some of the numbers in this report. As far as I know they do not include benefits, though I am still trying to double check this.

Also, the cost-savings represented by the recommended eliminated positions would total more than $800,000. (If you put that in perspective, it’s still a lot less than the $6.6 million the county is estimated to have to cut from the 2009-10 budget, which starts in July.)

At Monday’s Lee County Board of Commissioner’s first budget work session, members were presented with several reports, including one detailing possible job shifts in county government next fiscal year. That report is shown below.

Highlights include 14 retirements (three of those jobs would be permanently eliminated under a recommendation by County Manager John Crumpton) and as many as 15 of 17 open positions in county government could be permanently cut.

View this document on Scribd

April 21, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

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!

View this document on Scribd

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