County commissioners approved the county's 2010-'11 fiscal year general fund budget last week. The approval includes a 9.5 cent property tax increase.

Broken down, the tax increase is divided with 7 cents going to the general purpose school fund, one cent going to the county's debt service fund and 1.5 cents going to the county's sanitation or landfill fund.

The committee met June 30 in anticipation of hearing information from the state in regards to health insurance increases and to hear from department heads of the election commission, registrar of deeds, county clerk, clerk and master's office, trustee's office and judicial commissioner's office.

Those department heads were instructed by the budget committee to reduce 5 percent of their last year's budget.

"I've looked this budget over a few times and I don't see where any of them can cut and keep the services that we offer without cutting personnel. We've got a balanced general fund so I move we accept it the way it is as is and balanced," said 4th District Commissioner David Gibson.

Jim Inman, 1st District commissioner supported the motion.

"The sheriff was able to cut his budget six or seven percent because he had the drug fund to help balance it, but these other departments they don't have any other revenue source like that and they've cut for three years. I don't see where they can cut anywhere either without getting into personnel," Inman said.

The motion to approve the general fund passed in a 5 to 2 vote.

Voting in favor of the budget approval were commissioners Inman; Nancy Hyder, 2nd District; Gibson; Jack Davis, 5th District; and Wendell Wilson, 6th District.

Voting against approving the general fund budget were commissioners Greg Maxwell, 8th District; and Carmin Lynch, 9th District.

The 2010-'11 general fund budget projects $18,577,249 in revenue for the county, $18,941,475 in total estimated expenditures and an expected ending fund balance of $742,724.

In other areas the county amended the general fund by $8,000 in order to pay for commissioners' health insurance for July. There will be no county funded health insurance for commissioners in the 2010-'11 fiscal year.

Commissioner Wilson made a motion to increase the property tax rate a half cent to an even 10 cent increase. The other half cent would go to debt service, but no commissioner supported the motion and it died for lack of a second.

The Cumberland County Commission must approve the full county 2010-'11 fiscal year budget. The county finance department will run a notice in the Chronicle and will schedule a public hearing before the county commission's meeting.

The budget committee plans to have the full budget on the agenda for the July county commission meeting for consideration on July 19.

Commissioners on the budget committee will meet Wednesday, July 7, at 4:30 p.m. in the large courtroom of the Cumberland County Courthouse for its regular monthly meeting. The public is invited to attend.

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