Last chance tonight — at least until next year’s local elections — for residents of Floyd County to tell supervisors how they feel about the budget for the new fiscal year that begins on July 1.
A public hearing on the budget starts at 7 p.m. in the supervisors’ meeting room of the county administration building on Oxford Street but can be moved to the high school auditorium if a large crowd turns out to speak their mind.
Even with holding the line on real estate and personal property taxes, the Board of Supervisors manged to give Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Shortt funding for a part-time assistant prosecutor and some of the increases sought by Sheriff Shannon Zeman for increased law enforcement in the county.
But funding in the budget falls well short of the $2.1 million the school system says it needs to keep public education at what it considers an acceptable level of teacher strength, classroom size and program availability.
To add to the increasing tension between School Superintendent Kevin Harris and supervisors chairman Case Clinger, the board — by a 3-2 vote last meeting — turned down a request to give him authority to shift any leftover funds at the last minute without bringing specifics back to the board.
The county’s $30 million budget proposed for the coming year emptied its reserve fund to fund as many requests as possible and comes at a time when the anchor tenant for the new innovation center packed and left town under the dark of night and a major employer a the Economic Development Center announced earlier this month that it is leaving for North Carolina.
The county heads into a tough and uncertain economy in the coming year with property owners facing both reassessments and the certainty of tax hikes in the coming year.
Some county residents say they are tired of talking and will use the ballot box next year to say how they feel about their government.