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Carroll approves $74.6M budget

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — As they approved the fiscal year 2009-10 budget, Carroll supervisors sounded sorry that opening the county swimming pool just isn't possible this year — but they also said they're trying to get a better facility.

In the end, the supervisors approved a general fund budget of $31.9 million and $15,000 for the law library without any increase in any taxes.

Combined with the April 27 approval of the $42.6 million school budget, that brings the total to $74.6 million.

Supervisor Wes Hurst explained the position the finance committee took when it last met — that with the downturn in the economy, the drop in revenues generally and the early-on decision by the supervisors not to raise taxes, there's just no money for the pool.

"We find absolutely no way to change anything in the budget," Hurst said.

"I know the pool is a problem, but I have to concur with Mr. Hurst," said Supervisor Sam Dickson. "It's not possible this year.

"I would like the citizens to know we are working as quickly as possible to get, actually, a better, new one — something we can really be proud of."

The supervisors are just trying to do the same thing people are doing at home — watching the money and managing it effectively, Hurst added.

"We don't want to make the young people think they've been penalized," he said.

The pool costs so much for the relatively low use, he said.

"The money doesn't come easy," Hurst added. "It's your all's tax dollars we're spending and we're trying to do everything we can to manage the county correctly."

Financial Manager Pam Smith said this budget "contains cautious revenue estimates and conservative expenditures.”

As previously discussed, the budget included level funding to the school system; no salary increases for county employees; employees covering an 11.8 percent increase in health insurance; and reductions to line items for part-time help that have gone unused in the past.

Supervisor Andy Jackson made a motion to adopt the budget, and the motion was approved unanimously, with Supervisor Manus McMillian absent.

Hurst made a motion to adopt the tax levies with no increases. These include a levy of 59.5 cents per $100 for real estate and $1.60 per $100 for personal property, $2.30 per $100 merchant's capital, $1.30 per $100 machinery and tools.

These were approved unanimously.

Supervisors' Chairman David Hutchins encouraged the county staff to continue to manage the money frugally, because this coming year might be even more challenging.

"Keep the reins drawn in and the spigot shut," he advised.