During a Wednesday morning budget workshop, Wayne County Manager Craig Honeycutt reviewed what would be necessary to come up with the $800,200 to increase supplements for the county’s classroom teachers.
He was able to come up with $830,200.
Wayne County commissioners approved the supplement and budget by a 4-3 vote.
Following a June 4 budget hearing, Wayne County commissioners instructed Honeycutt to determine if the money could be found without having to increase the property tax rate.
County departments were able to cut $98,500 in spending, he said.
Another $98,463 would be shifted from the fund balance.
He said that new revenue projections include:
• $300,000 from an estimated 2 percent increase in sales tax.
• $222,362 from an estimated 6.5 percent increase in emergency medical services collections.
• $110,875 from an estimated 6.5 percent increase in non-emergency transport collections.
Chairman Joe Gurley and Vice Chairman Bill Pate voiced concerns about the new revenue projections, particularly for the EMS and non-emergency transport collections. Pate was unable to attend the meeting, but participated by phone.
Gurley said the county needed to have the new collection agency in place for a year before making those kinds of assumptions.
Providing a one-time bonus would provide that time, he said.
Pate, who said he has been married to a teacher for 39 years, did not oppose the supplement
“I am a little bit worried about the timing of it,” he said. “I want to applaud the staff for going back and finding it in the budget. But if we have this going forward, are you going to be able to do that again next year? I don’t think so. I would be surprised.
“I am just uncomfortable with changing the revenue predictions. That is kind of like rolling the dice, I think.”
Pate said he is also concerned about how the county will be able to afford the state mandate on kindergarten through third-grade classroom-size limits.
He questioned how many classrooms could be built with the $800,000.
The total also includes $30,000 in EMS salaries reflecting unspent salary because of a resignation. That $30,000 is set aside for use in EMS for salaries and is not part of the money for the supplement.