ELIZABETHTOWN —The Bladen County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to adopt the proposed 2013-14 budget which, includes a $200,000 increase in appropriations to Bladen County Schools.
“The $200,000 (for the Board of Education) was specified as a one-time appropriation,” said Bladen County Manager Greg Martin.
The $200,000 appropriation was to help the school system pay for teacher assistant positions which are on the chopping block in the state budget. The total appropriation for the school system was “just under $6.2 million.” Martin said the $150,000 was also appropriated to assist with the purchase of electronic door locks for the schools.
The budget carries no ad valorem tax increase nor were there any increases in fees.
“This is the 14th year with no changes to the solid waste fees,” said Martin.
He added there were no increases in the water rate.
The budget also carries some capital outlay expenditures for two new ambulances and a truck for emergency management.
Overall, the budget process went very well, said Martin.
“We had a number of meetings early on in the process in May,” said Martin. “The intent was to help the commissioners to get a good understanding of the budget.”
Martin said the process really goes back to February’s planning sessions.
“There were a lot of good discussion. There were some difficult decisions,” said Martin.
He added there is still some concern over the sales tax reform plans in the N.C. Senate and House. Martin pointed out that the House plan is much friendlier to the county than is the Senate plan. The legislature still has not adopted a reform plan as of press time.
In other business:
— The board approved renaming the consolidated human services agency to Health and Human Services Agency.
— The board also approved the adoption of amendments to the Animal Control ordinance.
— The board heard an over of the Adult Protective Services Division from Dena Patrick, supervisor of the unit.
— The board heard an update from Tax Administrator Chris Ellis on collection of delinquent taxes.
— The board also recognized employees for years of service and retirement.