School funding slashed by $400K in proposed budget

Commissioners will vote on June 30

By Charles Wood Staff Writer

WADESBORO — Anson County Commissioners announced that funding for Anson County Schools will be reduced by approximately $400,000 during their public budget hearing held on Tuesday, June 16. The commissioners will vote on whether or not to adopt the proposed budget on June 30.

The budget was drafted by Anson County Manager Barron Monroe and Anson County Finance Officer Cary Garner. Monroe said the budget cuts were made because of an estimated decline in sales tax revenue stemming from the closure of the local Walmart, as well as complications due to the pandemic.

“That sales tax revenue that we’re not going to receive hits our budget in several different ways,” explained Monroe. “In particular, it looks at schools, which we’re going to see a decrease in funding because a lot of dollars they receive come from sales tax. We have reduced some of the teacher supplement and supplies by approximately $400,000.”

The expense fund for Anson County Schools is budgeted at $3.6 million dollars, and the capital fund is at $90,000.

In addition to Anson County Schools, Economic Development and South Piedmont Community College were also defunded by an unspecified amount.

Approximately $235,000 was allocated to purchase Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responder (VIPER) and build the necessary infrastructure.

“We wish for our employees to have the best radio as possible,” Monroe said.

“It’s a quality of life issue,” explained Anson County’s Finance Manager Cary Garner, “which is one of the four cornerstones of our budget. This is the second year we’ve focused on it.”

The four cornerstones are education, economic development, quality of life, and operational efficiency.

The tower and its equipment will greatly improve radio communications for first responders around the county.

“The state was originally going to construct this tower out at Emergency Services building in Dec. 2019 but due to the state budget impasse, plans came to a halt,” said Garner. “Now it looks as though the state will use CARES (Federal Stimulus dollars) dollars to fund the project. The location will remain the same. “

“Because we were going to let the state erect the tower on our property, we were going to get to attach stuff so we would be able to utilize to it,” said Garner. “It’s going to cost us that $250,000 for us to be able to participate in the VIPER network, which is more advanced than the radio systems we’re currently using.”

Another “cornerstone” of the budget, Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness, also received an $219,219 increase in funding. That money will be used to purchase technology upgrades for the county.

Approximately $300,000, was also put aside in the budget to help pay for a new Anson County Transportation System (ACTS) Building. The $300,000 is a match the county must pay in order to receive a $1.2 million grant from the federal government to help pay for construction of the building.

The total recommended budget was $29,470,127 for the general fund and $7,524,309 in enterprise funds for a total of 37 million dollars. The budget was accepted unanimously by the Board of Commissioners and nobody spoke during the public hearing part of the presentation.

Reach Charles Wood at 704 994 5471 or cwood@ansonrecord.com