No tax increase likely for Jackson
“These sales tax funds, future grants and available lottery proceeds will dictate the public schools’ FY 2024-2028 Facility Capital Improvement Plan,” said Adams.
The county will allocate $2.6 million for Southwestern Community College for current operations, a 4% increase in funding. The proposed general maintenance capital outlay appropriation is $154,850 for fire alarm system upgrades and $50,000 for incidental repairs.
The Jackson County Library is part of the Fontana Regional Library system. Therefore, the county will allocate $1.3 million to the FRL to operate both the Jackson County Library and the Albert Carlton Library. This represents a 4% increase in funding.
Other appropriations in the budget account for safety, community development centers and nonprofits.
It is proposed that Canada, Savannah, Balsam and Qualla Volunteer Fire Departments — the four departments remaining with volunteer service — and the Glenville-Cashiers and Jackson County Rescue Squads receive a 4% increase in allocation. Matching funds will be made available for equipment purchased under grant funding.
The Sylva Fire Department is being funded at $1.1 million. This will enable the department to have paid members on staff 24 hours per day, seven days a week by continuing to fund eight full-time positions. The department provides mutual aid to other departments within the county.
The Cullowhee Fire Department is being funded at $1.1 million. This department is also able to have paid personnel working around the clock and provide mutual aid throughout the county.
The budget proposes that Community Development Center funding to all 14 centers remain the same as Fiscal Year 2022-2023 levels, with the exception of the Community Table and Cullowhee revitalization which need to have funding increased to be brought back to pre-COVID funding levels.
“If you take the Community Table, they were receiving $10,000, and I’m proposing to take them back to $20,000. The reason being is because when they received all the COVID dollars, they actually reduced their request to us,” said Adams. “Now those dollars are gone, they’re just asking to get back to level funding.”
The Solid Waste FY 2023-24 proposed operating budget is $5.2 million, which represents an increase of 1.69%% over the current year.
“This fund is completely funded from fees collected for the service. There are no major operational changes at this point. We are not proposing any increase in availability fees,” said Adams.
A public hearing for the proposed budget is scheduled for 5:55 p.m. on June 6 and the budget is tentatively scheduled to be approved by commissioners June 20, after the board has had the opportunity to make any final adjustments.