Highland Supervisors Adopt Budget
After what was a tumultuous process compared to most years, the Highland Board of Supervisors approved the budget for fiscal year 2017 with little fanfare Thursday evening. Only one change was made to the draft budget published for public consumption and commentary – the Supervisors agreed to honor Highland School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Schott’s request to use $65,000 from a late arriving “caboose” bill from the Governor to be added to the school’s capital improvement fund. This allowed Dr. Schott to return this amount to his proposed budget.
The public in attendance did not have an opportunity to speak during the meeting, but Chair Kevin Wagner addressed some of their previous concerns.
“During this budget process, I understand there are some contentious issues, and we have made note of that, and some of them are of a personnel nature, and we have made those notes as well, and are dealing with that at a personnel level. Some of your comments, and some of the investigation that’s been done (is) very appreciated, and we’ll move forward with that going on, but it’s not part of this budget process. Thank you very much for being part of this budget season – It’s the biggest thing we do all year long – the biggest project we take on all year long in this county, and I appreciate everybody’s input and public response.”
Mr. Wagner released this statement – “The budget concludes a process that takes us about two months to assemble every year. We received requests from over 30 offices and agencies that conduct public business in Highland County. When we began our budget cycle, factors such as benefit cost adjustments and new programs required by the legislature are considered as well as requests by our local offices, agencies and non-profits.
After hearing from all parties we had an initial shortfall of over $500,000.Through the course of line item adjustments we reduced the shortfall to around $260,000. At that point it was concluded that a tax hike of $.02 per hundred on real estate value and $.25 on personal property was required to balance the final spending plan and approve a final budget of $7, 584,000.
I would like to thank all the participants throughout the work sessions and public hearing for their input and candor as they expressed their concerns toward Highland County’s fiscal priorities.”