Late appropriations to current budget could cost Carroll $1.8 million

By Allen Worrell -

Even as it begins to tighten its belt for what it is expected to be a rough budget season, the Carroll County Board of Supervisors are now contending with $1.8 million in late additional appropriations for the current budget year.

During the county’s monthly meeting Feb. 12, supervisors unanimously voted to appropriate an additional $315,000 to cover excess per diems for prisoners at the New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin to cover the county until the end of the current fiscal year on June 30. In addition, the Carroll County Board of Supervisors voted to hold a public hearing March 12 concerning amending the Fiscal Year 2018 budget to include revenue and expenditure additions for the Comprehensive Services Act in an amount not to exceed $1.5 million.

Assistant County Superintendent Nikki Cannon updated the board on those items and a couple of others with direct impacts on the current budget. The first was in relation to a grant the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office recently received after Carroll, Grayson County and Galax were all designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Cannon requested a budget amendment in the amount of $9,000 to cover the grant and an additional $689 to cover the FICA associated with the grant. Those requested appropriations are all reimbursable by the grant with no cost to taxpayers.

Cannon then addressed the public hearing request for March 12 for the additional budget appropriation for the Comprehensive Services Act. The Virginia Comprehensive Services Act provides for the pooling of eight specific funding streams to support services for high-risk youth. These funds are returned to the localities with a required state/ local match and are managed by local interagency teams. The purpose of the act is to provide high quality, child centered, family focused, cost effective, community-based services to high-risk youth and their families.

“The second item is a public hearing request advertised at the March meeting for a budget adjustment related to a budget appropriation for the Comprehensive Services Act and I believe it is for an amount in excess of $1.5 million,” Cannon said. “It is probably not going be that much, but we have to advertise up to an amount. We can go any amount lower and I anticipate it to be lower.”

Cannon said the next item was for a vacancy in the Treasurer’s Office that was removed and then put back into a contingency in January.

“We have had a request for that money to be placed back into the Treasurer’s Office budget in the amount of $21,000,” Cannon said.

Cannon then addressed the additional appropriation for the New River Valley Regional Jail for the current fiscal year and how the county would make up for it in the existing budget.

“It is for the excess per diems that we are going to need to get us through the end of the fiscal year through June 30 in the amount of $315,000. We have gone through the budget and basically used any contingency that we have for any unanticipated expenditure that may come up between now and June,” Cannon said. “We have $22,000 for other contingencies, a $7,500 reduction to the personnel contingency, and removing the capital project reserve of $20,000. There is also a savings from refinancing the complex debt that we talked about last month. That was a $66,000 reduction in our expenditures through the end of the fiscal year. And we had some other items that we had requested from departments if they had any operational savings that they could anticipate. So we had basically about $1,500 from animal control, $7,000 in savings at the cannery and an $11,000 reduction to the recreation sports equipment. We reduced the economic development projects for potential incentives for any business of $140,000, and IT-Machinery and Equipment was also reduced for capital purchases in the amount of $40,000.”

Supervisor Rex Hill made a motion to approve all four items, which supervisor Phillip McCraw seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Supervisor Bob Martin then mentioned how Carroll’s appropriations for the New River Valley Regional Jail keeps increasing. Cannon said it has gone up about $200,000 every year for each of the last three years.

“I am anticipating that number will eventually plateau because we will reach capacity in terms of resources, in terms of manpower hours,” she said. “You can only move so many people and that number will plateau at some point.”

Martin said with the way jail appropriations have continued to exceed what the county budgets, the county needs to start budgeting for potential increases.

“The bottom line is we need to start budgeting before for potential there because the expenses we have looked at for three years unbudgeted and then we get hit with it in February or whenever,” Martin said. “We need to have that possibility shown in the beginning. I realize it is hard to project something you don’t know but based on the last three years it is more concrete.”

County Administrator Steve Truitt said it is tough, though, because jail appropriations actually went down the three years before the last three. But at some point, the number won’t be able to increase any more. Supervisor Robbie McCraw asked what does that make the county’s total jail appropriation for the current budget year.

“The total is about $2.1 million, and that is what I have in the budget document for next year, but I can’t guarantee that this time next year we won’t be discussing another $200,000 increase bumping it up to $2.3 million,” Cannon said. “So right now I have budgeted in additional money for next year during the budget process.”

Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4602 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN

By Allen Worrell