Increase in Proposed County Budget
The proposed Bladen County budget for
FY 2013-14 holds the current tax rate.
Greg Martin, Bladen County Manager, in his
overview to County Commissioners is
proposing a 1.2% increase over the current
budget totalling $38,583,302. Martin
points out that the proposed budget includes
increases in projections for significant
sources of revenue such as property tax and
sales taxes, as well as federal and state
funding for the Department of Social
Services. However, according to Martin,
there are revenue reductions for Home Health
fees, grant projects and loan proceeds.
"We believe that revenue projections are
reasonable, based on year-to-date
collections and audited collections in
FY12," according to the Manager.
Martin pointed out that the "financial
sustainability continues to pose a real
challenge for Bladen County. Due to an
increasing demand for services and ever
increasing costs for personnel benefits and
operating expenses, more revenue is
needed each year to sustain the existing
level of services." He continues, "The
proposed budget incorporates a "No Tax
Increase" priority established by the Board
of Commissioners during a planning meeting
in February of this year. While the
budget does not include sufficient funding
to meet all the needs identified in budget
requests, it does include funding to
substantially maintain existing service
levels. And, of particular importance,
the budget maintains the current expense
funding level for Bladen County Schools and
provides a 4% increase in current expense
funding for Bladen Community College,"
according to Martin.
budget includes a projected tax base of
$2,561,626,887 which is about 1.2% over the
current year budgeted tax base. The
proposed tax rate remains $.74 per $100
Sales tax is estimated to
generate $3,850,227, or approximately 9.98
percent of the County's General Fund budget.
This is a slight increase over the current
year budgeted amount, according to Martin.
Property Taxes generate approximately
one-half of the general fund revenue,
followed by restricted intergovernmental
revenues, sales tax and sales and services.
from the Managers budget proposal, "The
proposed budget provides funding to
substantially maintain services at existing
levels. Operation budgets in many
departments remain relatively flat, although
additional funding is included for personnel
related costs as well as jail related
medical and food costs"
expenditures related savings in the proposed
budget include debt service savings due to
the recent bond refunding, retirement of
installment-purchase debt, and the
elimination of two vacant positions."
The proposed budget includes approximately
$302,094.00 in additional funding to provide
automatic step increases for eligible
employees and full year funding for the two
percent cost of living adjustment (COLA)
that went into effect on January 1, 2013.
There is a slight increase in the cost
of healthcare coverage for employees.
Capital projects requested by department
heads has been reduced by the Manager.
The big items include 6 new cars for the
Sheriffs Department at a cost of $28,000
each...10 had been requested. $180,000
has been recommended for a new ambulance,
$150.000 for Electronic Lock Upgrades at
Bladen County schools and $352,042 for a new
document system for the Department of Social
Fire District tax
rates remain the same except for
Elizabethown where a $.02 rate increase has
been recommended. the additional funds are
needed to replace a vehicle in an effort to
retain a 5/6 ISO rating.
summary to Commissioners, Martin wrote, "The
Bladen County FY 2013-14 Proposed Budget is
hereby presented to the Board of
Commissioners. The proposed tax rate
remains $.74 per $100 valuation. The
proposed budget maintains existing service
levels but does not provide sufficient
funding to meet the many needs identified in
budget requests. However, the budget
seeks to strike a balance in terms of
providing necessary services while
maintaining a reasonable tax burden for the
citizens of Bladen County."
continued, "I would like to thank department
managers for the leadership they provide to
our many departments and agencies.
There are budgetary constraints each year,
and I appreciate their efforts to work
within conservative budgets to achieve our
County's vision of "providing customer
focused county services efficiently and
have scheduled a meeting to continue their
work on the proposed budget. That
meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 28
at 6:30 p.m.
A Public Hearing is
scheduled for Monday, June 3, 2013 in the
Bladen County Courthouse at 6:30 p.m.
The public is invited to attend.