University City

Union commissioners working to set budget

Union County commissioners are moving closer to finalizing their 2012-13 budget but they needed to push back their next budget session until May 11 to wait for a crucial piece of information – the formal request for money from the school board.

The school board met May 1 to adopt its budget request to send to the county, a vote that occurred after the deadline for Union News.

Reversing an earlier position, schools Superintendent Ed Davis recommended the school board ask the county for an additional $6.7 million to avoid eliminating all 350 teacher assistant jobs.

That is on top of a previously sought $2.2 million increase in operating funds, for a total of $88.2 million. Davis shaved some money off of the recommended capital expenses request, from $8.9 million to $7.4 million.

Last year, the district was budgeted for $79.3 million in operating funds from the county and no capital expenses. At the time, the district had asked the county for all of the money to go to operating expenses, and then said it would decide if it would use any for capital costs.

The county staff had been recommending the district receive the same amount as last year: $79.3 million for operating costs and no capital expenses. The recommendation was made before Davis altered his proposal.

Commissioners continue to forge ahead with other aspects of their $226.5 million budget, and are looking to eliminate a $161,000 deficit. The board reached consensus on several issues, including:

The budget also will include a half-cent tax decrease, the first time there has been a tax decrease in a non-revaluation year in at least 32 years.

Each penny of the rate generates $2.25 million in revenue. And a half-cent cut would knock $5 off of the tax bill for a person with a $100,000 house or $10 for a $200,000 house.

County Manager Cindy Coto needs to deliver her recommended budget to the board by May 21.