06/16/04 — Budget hearing brings out few speakers

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Budget hearing brings out few speakers

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on June 16, 2004 2:02 PM

Wayne County's budget hearing drew only a handful of speakers, none of whom asked for major changes.

Although more than 30 people attended Tuesday's hearing, only five spoke. The county commissioners will begin their 2004-2005 budget discussions next Tuesday.

Kim Wells, an animal control employee, told the board that she was disappointed by plans to delay construction of the new animal shelter, now tentatively scheduled to open in fall 2005.

The county's shelter is overcrowded, prone to flooding and roach-infested, she said. "We've done everything humanly possible to get rid of the roaches, but nothing's worked."

Her department also needs at least one more employee, she said.

Lloyd Massey of Dudley asked the county to increase its appropriation to Old Waynesborough Village from $20,000 to $30,000. The extra money would help the village manage 130 acres that it will soon receive from the state, he said.

James Cox of the Grantham High School Foundation asked the county commissioners to work with the school board on a reasonable building program that wouldn't raise property taxes dramatically.

He asked that a new high school at Grantham be a part of any such discussion.

"Do you think it's fair for the children of southwestern Wayne County to travel 25 miles for an education?" he asked.

Ed Wharton, a Republican candidate for county commissioner, questioned whether the county was planning a tax increase next year.

And Library Director Jane Rustin thanked the county for its continued support of the library services.

The commissioners typically do not respond to comments made at hearings. Tuesday was no exception.

The commissioners' budget work session will begin at 8:30 a.m. in their meeting room, third floor, Wayne County Courthouse Annex.

Centers to close

Also Tuesday, the commissioners voted to close the county's 13 convenience centers on Sundays, as of Aug. 1.

The centers, which accept household trash and recyclable materials, are now open 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays but have not been busy that day. Often, some of the more remote centers do not have any visitors, County Manager Lee Smith said.

The Solid Waste Department kept tabs on the dumping at the sites, and on the busiest Sunday during the period, a total of 42 people came to the 13 sites. It costs $25,000 to $30,000 to keep the centers open on Sundays, Smith said.

The vote to close the centers was unanimous.