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Budget Committee Approves Funds for Recycling Center, Library, and Tablets

From funding for the Recycling Center to new tablet computers for commissioners, this month’s Budget Committee saw votes on a variety of new funding requests. Here’s a look at what happened.

EMA Building Repairs

EMA Director Doug Campbell requested $16,800 for repair work on the EMA’s current building. Several issues were found after environment testing was done on the building. The money’s set for use on fixing those issues, which include mold and asbestos abatement. The committee approved the funding unanimously.

Recycling Center

With another unanimous vote, the committee set aside money for use with the Recycling Center. Last month, the center temporarily closed due to a lack of operating funds. Keep Fayetteville Lincoln County Beautiful ran the center and now plans to shut down at the end of 2018. With $15,000 in outstanding debt, the non-profit needs funds to settle those financial obligations.

Acting on the Solid Waste Committee’s recommendation, the Budget Committee set aside $15,000 to purchase equipment currently located within the Recycling Center. Along with that money, $22,385 has been allocated for payments to Richardson Waste, who’s running the center currently, along with utility costs and maintenance/repairs on the building and equipment over the next fiscal year.

Computer Tablets for Commissioners

In the first of two non-unanimous votes, commissioners approved the purchase of 26 Google Pixel Slates with a 6-2 vote. That covers one per commissioner plus one for the mayor and finance director.

Commissioner Ricky Bryant brought forth the idea after seeing how much money was spent to print out commission packets and supporting material for each meeting. As he put it, “A case of paper just doesn’t go very far.” Official tablets would allow for packets and other information to be sent without the need for paper copies. Commissioners could use the laptops during meetings to see any information they need to make decisions.

Six commissioners voted yes on the idea, which sends it to the full County Commission for their approval. Citing concerns around commissioners having Internet access at their homes along with a preference for paper reports, only Commissioners Donny Ogle and Shirley Dangerfield voted no.

Library Debt

The other non-unanimous vote came from a motion by Commissioner Doug Cunningham for $120,000, which would be used for retiring the outstanding debt on the library. The volunteer group Friends of the Library has lined up a private donation to help cover a significant portion of the current $320,000 debt. In the original plans, the county budgeted $30,000 for the next four years. The Friends of the Library sought the payment this year so they can pay off the debt and save a significant amount in interest costs.

During discussion on the library vote, commissioners appeared split on a decision. Several noted that this same discussion has happened in various meetings for the last few years. The vote passed 6-2 with only Commissioners Steve Graham and Donny Ogle voting no.

Next Steps

These committee-approved requests go to the full County Commission for passage. If you’d like to talk with your commissioner about these votes, you can find their contact info here. The next meeting is Tuesday December 18th at 6pm.

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