JEFFERSON — The Ashe County government budget is $52 million for the fiscal year 2019-2020, which begins July 1, as approved by the Ashe County Board of Commissioners during their regular meeting in the courthouse at 9 a.m. Monday, June 17.
With no change to last year’s tax rate of 44.3 cents per $100 of property, the commissioners said they are able to provide county departments and programs the funding they needed, but not as much as they might have requested for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Between June 3-5, the commissioners met with county finance and administrative employees in the courthouse for a line-by-line review of the now-official budget, hearing funding requests from various county departments and programs as part of a workshop process that took more than 15 hours to complete.
Wielding yellow highlighters, the commissioners checked each line of their 48-section budget workbooks, hearing details, receiving feedback and asking questions about the county’s expected income and expenditures.
With the detailed discussion and planning out of the way, the board had little left to do Monday morning but officially adopt the changes they made during the June 3-5 workshops and unanimously approve the budget.
Included in the $52,481,646 of funding appropriated for the county government’s operation between July 1 and June 30, 2020, $6.8 million is allocated to capital improvements and construction projects, plus $3.3 million in the school construction fund, according to a budget summary provided by the county.
Public safety accounts for $6.8 million of the Ashe County budget, including almost $2.8 million for law enforcement and $2.3 million for corrections, including the Ashe County Detention Center, according to the 2019-2020 budget ordinance.
For human services, $11.3 million is budgeted, with $8.1 million going to the Ashe County Department of Social Services, the budget ordinance said.
The economic development budget — totaling $654,241 — was approved by the commissioners separately from the rest of the budget, as is required by state general statutes, according to Ashe County Director of Economic Development Cathy Barr. Additionally, $492,790 is budgeted in the economic development reserve fund.
The total economic and physical development budget is $1.45 million, accounting for New River Soil & Water Conservation District and Ashe County Cooperative Extension, plus the planning and aforementioned economic development departments, according to the budget ordinance.
Ashe County Library is allocated $512,335, and $695,412 is going towards Ashe County Parks & Recreation in 2019-2020, according to county documents.
At Ashe County Airport, the budget is $333,978, of which, $69,103 is new money, while the rest is carry-over funding budgeted from previous years that has not been spent, according to an email from Ashe County Finance Officer Sandy Long. The county’s appropriation toward the airport will secure $4,687,214 in federal and state funding for Ashe County Airport projects, Long said.
Ashe County Environmental Services has $1.75 million in its collection budget, and $1.47 in its disposal budget. Solid waste disposal fees and recycling revenue is expected to net the county $2.92 million, the approved budget said.
Ashe County Animal Control’s budget is $277,836, the budget ordinance said.
Accounting for the county’s expenditures, some $18.2 million in revenue is expected from property taxes, plus $7.5 million in other taxes and $5.5 million in other governmental revenue, including a $3.5 million administrative reimbursement for DSS, according to the approved budget.
More information about the 2019-2020 Ashe County budget can be found online at ashecountygov.com, under the finance department tab.