Keeping the real estate and property tax rates the same and the initial failure of the meals tax increase turned the budget surplus into a deficit. That forced the board to haggle and make cuts in other areas, such as a $345,000 mowing contract and training and mileage expenditures for staff.
Much of the board’s discussions on the budget focused on school funding, which totals $311.6 million in local, state and federal funds. Local funding for the school system totals $132.3 million.
Three supervisors—Frazier, Chris Yakabouski and Gary Skinner—focused on filling a $2.1 million gap in the adopted School Board request. That money would allow the school system to give staff a 6 percent raise instead of a 5 percent increase. School employees did not receive a planned 4 percent raise last year.
In the end, their colleagues—Supervisors Tim McLaughlin, David Ross, Kevin Marshall and Barry Jett—supported a budget that didn’t fill the gap. Frazier, Yakabouski and Skinner all voted against that budget.
Yakabouski made several attempts to fill the schools funding gap, all of which failed. Skinner criticized the supervisors who didn’t support giving more money to the school system.
“Why do people think the schools don’t need the money?” he asked, adding that school staff did not get raises last year while other county department staff, such as fire and rescue and the Sheriff’s Office, did.