DOBSON — The Surry County Health and Nutrition Center is looking to local funding to offset losses in federal and state revenues in the upcoming budget year.
At last week’s budget workshop the Surry County Board of Commissioners heard the budget requests of most county departments.
Health Department Director Samantha Ange told the members of the county board that her department will look to local funds to make up for losses in federal and state programs. One such affected program is the women, infants and children (WIC) nutrition assistance program.
Ange said her department will see a decrease of nearly $46,000 in federal funding for the program in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
“So the county would have to step up to cover this WIC decrease if we want to maintain the same level of services?” asked Commissioner Van Tucker.
Ange said that is the case, and she included an increase in county funding of about $62,000 for the program.
Another hit to non-local funds will come with the expiration of a HealthNet grant. That grant accounted for $35,000 per year.
With smaller cuts to other funding sources, Ange is projecting a loss of nearly $94,000 in non-local funds. She has requested an increase of $101,245 in funding from the county.
Two vehicles for use by environmental health personnel and one for animal control are also included in Ange’s budget request.
The request also proposes county funding cuts to adult primary care, family planning, administration and immunization funding.
According to her statistics, her department’s budget would increase by three percent in the upcoming budget year. However, if commissioners approve the request as presented, the department would see a 4.5-percent increase in county funding.
Kristy Preston, social services director, said her department will need an increase in revenue to fund foster care services in the upcoming year.
“We made every effort to keep this request as close to last year as we could,” Preston told the board. “That stated, our biggest variable is foster care.
Preston said there are about 80 children in foster care from Surry County. She and her staff ran models projecting up to $400,000 in additional expenses to house children. She has requested an increase of $200,000, bringing the department’s total projected child care expenditure for the 2017-18 fiscal year to $1,023,957.
Preston noted some of those dollars will end up being reimbursed through state funding sources.
Another change to the services provided by Preston’s department could be a change to transportation services for Medicaid patients.
The county contracts with the Yadkin Valley Economic Development District Inc. (YVEDDI) to transport Medicaid patients to and from appointments. According to Preston, there have been some issues regarding the reliability of the services, especially in the morning hours.
YVEDDI’s costs are also on the rise, said Preston. Her department may soon look at a different provider for the service.
Trash and zoning
Public Works Director Dennis Bledsoe’s budget request includes $90,000 to repave two convenience centers.
“Pot-hole Shoals,” chuckled Tucker, who lives in the Shoals community, as he looked at the request.
Bledsoe has recommended the county allocate dollars to repave the Shoals center and the Westfield center.
The request also includes $100,000 to move the North Surry recycling center. Bledsoe said the move is tentative, as his department is still exploring options for the site’s relocation.
His funding proposal for the landfill includes $160,000 for engineering services, $75,000 of which will be put toward opening a new cell at the landfill. An allocation of $125,000 for a new truck and a dozer is also included in the budget request.
Bledsoe noted none of the proposed funding for his department would come from the county’s general fund. His department operates from an enterprise fund, meaning it is self-funding by way of fees charged for the services the department provides.
Planning Director Kim Bates said his department’s staff is half of what it was in 2001, when the county developed its land use plan. That plan needs to be updated, and Bates wants to look toward outside help to get it done.
County commissioners gave Bates the go-ahead to enter into an agreement with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council. For $44,750 in fees, council staff will perform the update. The work and the payment of fees will span three budget years.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.