The Transylvania Times -

By Mark Todd
Staff Writer 

Wilson Suggests No Tax Increase In County Budget


Transylvania County Manager Artie Wilson is now looking at a proposed 2012-2013 budget of $40.7 million.

The budget is still in the formative stages and must be adopted by county commissioners sometime before July 1.

Wilson continues to suggest that county commissioners raise the needed funds for the budget without raising property taxes.

He says, however, that it will be another six weeks before he can actually present a realistic budget because some important factors are still unknown at this time.

The Transylvania County Commission approved a $39.4 million county budget for 2011-2012. There was no property tax increase in that budget.

On Monday, Wilson updated county commissioners on the budget during their regular meeting.

Wilson said that since he did not have budget numbers from the school system, he left those numbers flat.

"These initial looks at the budget do not include any additional requests from the Board of Education," he said. "That request is due May 15."

Wilson said the school budget would be a big part of the final picture.

If the budget were adopted as projected, there would be a shortfall of $1.8 million in revenues.

Other than making cuts in the budget, another option is to tap the county's reserve fund, which is referred to as a fund balance.

That fund balance was last reported to be nearly $20.3 million, of which $11.9 million has not been designated for a specific use.

The latest update reflects an increase in projected revenues from state sources such as sales tax and Medicaid funds totaling about $372,000.

The original projected deficit was $2.5 million, when Wilson first briefed the commissioners earlier this year. As now proposed, the budget calls for a 3 percent increase in pay for county employees, who have had none since 2008. That would cost taxpayers an estimated $450,000.

The proposed budget also calls for the addition of seven new county employees at a cost of $302,000.

Also proposed is an increased expenditure of $300,000 for health insurance for employees and an increase of $637,000 in spending for capital improvements.

Commissioners will hold a series of budget workshops later this spring at the county library to review the budget section by section.


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