Scotland County puts funds in reserve for economic development

By: By Beth Lawrence - Staff reporter

LAURINBURG — Scotland County Board of Commissioners approved two ordinances creating new reserve funds at its regular meeting on Monday.

The two new funds will set aside budget surpluses to cover economic development projects and fund maintenance projects to county property.

The Capital Reserve Fund ordinance sets forth the following conditions for the account, “to accumulate funds for long-term capital projects deemed necessary for the continuing operations of county facilities and services. The source of these funds will derive from unrestricted fund balance in excess of 24 percent as established in the Fund Balance Policy. The Board of Commissioners will designate the amount of funds to transfer to the Capital Reserve Fund on an annual basis.” Upcoming projects that the money will fund are a communications tower at a cost $145,000 and roofing projects at $144,000 for a total of $289,000 in appropriations for 2017. The county’s budget officer will be required to create a detailed analysis of past and future costs and revenues on during all budget submissions to this board. The finance officer will update the board quarterly on the status of projects. One roofing project that will be required in the future will be putting a new roof on the courthouse which is projected to cost around $1 million.

Commissioner Carol McCall was proud that the county was able to create the account.

“I think this ordinance will serve the county well. When I think back to several years ago, to think that we would be in a position to have a fund let alone a surplus is astonishing,” McCall said.

Should an event occur that depletes the county budget the money can be used to pay for capital needs by allocating money from the fund, but the money cannot be transferred back to the fund balance.

The Economic Development Reserve Fund will be used to gather, “funds for long-term economic development needs. These needs are deemed necessary for the continuing industrial and economic development and prosperity of the County,” according to the ordinance. Like the capital reserve fund, the money for economic development will come from unrestricted fund balance of anything over 24 percent as and the board will decide how much to transfer each year. The finance officer and budget officer will have to follow the same requirements as with the Capital Reserve Fund. The funds going into the economic development account for 2017 will total $144,000 for the future purchase of property. The money can be reallocated to a different project other than the purchase of land if need be, according to County Manager Kevin Patterson.

The board also conducted a public hearing concerning a community development block grant of $1.25 million to rehabilitate train tracks at the Laurinburg Maxton Airport. The already existing track is being repaired and new track extended to the proposed Mountaire feed mill that will be located at the site which is expected to bring approximately 65 jobs to the county. The public and commissioners had no questions or comments on the subject.

The county also entered into a memorandum of understanding with the airport concerning the upgrades. The MOU was required because the county was to receive the funds from the grant, according to Ward. The memorandum was approved by the board.

In other business, the board approved the landfill’s request to surplus a 2007 Chevy Silverado pickup truck. Surplus property is listed on the website to be auctioned off.

Commissioners also approved a Health Department request to add a physician extender II or nurse practitioner. The extender will replace Dr. Hudson Jones who left the department due to his inability to work the schedule required for the Health Department by Medicaid. The county has eliminated the physician position which cost $221,000 a year to fund and will instead use the Physician Extender II at a cost of $106,000 a year. The practitioner will work under the supervision of Dr. Johnathan Rowson, medical director for the health department.

The board also approved the receipt $18,016.98 by EMS from an Emergency Management Performance Grant Program from NC Department of Public Safety. The money will be used to upgrade equipment at the emergency operations center, according to Roylin Hammond, EMS director. The board also approved the EMS Proclamation recognizing May 20-26 as Emergency Medical Services Week.

By Beth Lawrence

Staff reporter

Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169

Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169