DOBSON — It might only be the beginning of December, but the Surry County Board of Commissioners already is looking to dive into the next fiscal year budget, which begins July 1, 2018.
The board recently approved a rough draft for its budget workshops that begin next calendar year and lead up to the formation of the new budget.
Starting with a board retreat Feb. 23, 2018, the commissioners will discuss finances and funding with its own agencies and those wanting assistance all the way through April.
After an optional work session on May 15 or 17, the board will take a break to allow County Manager Chris Knopf and Finance Officer Sarah Bowen to crunch the numbers and present a preliminary budget recommendation at the regular June 4 county meeting.
The public will have a chance to give its two cents’ worth at a hearing on June 18, with the board giving its final approval before the end of the current fiscal year June 30.
These workshops are an important time for groups to be heard before the budget gets too far set for much wiggle room. It is also a chance for groups to explain why they need what they are requesting from the county board.
Showing up for discussions became an issue when the commissioners were contemplating tax rates for fire districts in June.
Surry County has 17 volunteer fire departments. The county reached out to all of them, but only eight showed up in person for a work session.
Four departments requested a tax-rate increase, but didn’t have a representative make it to the work session to give justification for the bump. Without adequate reasoning provided, the board didn’t feel it needed to increase the rate in those four districts.
Feb. 1 — Begin sending out letters to outside agencies such as schools and fire departments.
Feb 23 — County commissioners’ annual retreat.
March 1-April 4 — Department heads have budget reviews with Knopf, Bowen and Assistant County Manager Sandra Snow.
March 12 — Budgets due from schools.
March 16 — Budgets due from fire departments and outside agencies.
March 19 — Budgets due from the county’s own large departments.
March 29 — Budget due from Social Services and Health Department.
April 10 — First commissioners work session: County departments.
April 12 — Estimate of values sent to school systems.
April 19 — Budget work session: School boards.
April 24 — Budget work session: Fire departments.
April 27 — Estimate of values sent to Knopf and Bowen.
May 15 or 17 — Budget work session, if needed.
May 31 — Knopf files budget with clerk of the board.
June 4 — Recommended budget presented to commissioners. Public hearing set.
June 12 or 14 — Budget work session, if needed.
June 18 — Public hearing on budget.
Reach Jeff Linville at 336-415-4692.