BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Declining savings in county funds continue to plague the Greene County Budget & Finance Committee during this year's preparations for the 2013-2014 budget.
On Wednesday, the committee reviewed, but declined to act on, the Education Debt Service Fund, which pays for school buses and debt relating to the construction of band rooms in county schools.
The fund is currently operating on a $31,342 deficit that will increase to $349,000 if the County Commission approves the purchase of nine buses at nearly $700,000 this year, Shelton said.
Shelton projected the resulting Education Debt Service Fund ending balance for 2013-2014 at $517,000 -- just half what she said the county and the school system try to keep in the fund.
Most years, the system only requests the purchase of six buses for about $500,000.
However, in their last meeting, the Budget & Finance Committee approved for recommendation to the County Commission the system's increased school bus purchase recommendation after hearing from County Director of Schools Dr. Vicki Kirk.
'FIGURE OUT THE ROUTES'
Seay said that he has had constituents object to this approval, and he has since given it more consideration.
If the County Commission does not approve the additional three new buses, Seay said a solution should come from the system's transportation director, Clark Justis.
"Let him sit down and figure out the routes with however many buses he's got," Seay said.
He added that the system should run the buses as much as possible, making more than one route and putting as many miles on them as necessary in the first 15 years rather than keeping them under 200,000 miles to extend their allowed life by two additional years.
These limits, along with limits on the amount of time a child can spend on a bus, are set by state law.
Broyles and Bird also questioned how full the buses are operated. They also said they would like to see the system study purchasing smaller buses.
The Workman's Compensation and Liability Fund, out of which such items as accidents and water damage are paid, received tentative approval to operate with a $102,500 deficit.
The committee reviewed, but did not act on, contribution requests from area agencies and the Other Capital Projects Fund, which includes the county's contributions to social, cultural and recreation projects through the revenue from the hotel/motel tax.
Many organizations requested increases that totaled nearly an additional $100,000.
"It doesn't make sense to sit here and be scratching our heads about how we are going to pay our debt and then go ahead and give this money away," Broyles said.
"That's not saying that they're not good programs. They are."
"I don't think we can give any increases," Bird added. "We may have to do more than just not allow any growth. We may have to cut."