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Halifax County supes mull shift of four finance offices into one

SoVaNow.com / August 14, 2014


The Hailfax County Board of Supervisors finance committee floated the idea yesterday of consolidating four separate money departments — Treasurer, Commissioner of Revenue, county finance and school finance — into a single office.

The idea was part of a wide-ranging discussion by the budget committee, chaired by Doug Bowman and including members J. T. Davis and Larry Giardano.

They spent nearly two hours Wednesday reviewing draft policies to encourage a focus on the county’s big financial picture rather than isolated issues.

Bowman said he wants the rest of the board to consider the possibility of one central finance office rather than the four separate offices which deal with finance. In order to eliminate the constitutional offices of treasurer and commissioner of revenue, county residents would have to ratify the idea via a voter referendum.

Other draft guidelines offered by Davenport & Company address investment, debt and funding reserve policies to provide a framework for the overall fiscal impact of government services and ways to manage accompanying debt by developing a five year plan for capital investments.

Looking at a schedule from the Virginia Public School Authority on annual credits (from reduced interest rates) on the county’s school debts those credits will be reserved to help cover the costs of the Courthouse renovation, county staff recommended.

Panel members also reviewed a lease with the school system which was signed in July 1992 and covered a ten year period.

That lease included the rental of only 1,379 square feet of space in the Mary Bethune Complex.

However, the schools occupy 14.968 square feet of space there according to revised figures. The original lease calls for the school system to pay no rent, but to reimburse the county for the actual cost of heat, air conditioning, electricity, water/sewer, LP gas and operations and maintenance on a monthly basis.

Currently the school pays about $5,000 a year, according to Finance Director Stephanie Jackson, Jackson wrote that she was waiting for a recommendation from the supervisors before making any changes to the lease agreement.

Finance members spent much of their time discussing the problems with the office of Animal Control and possible solutions to some of the problems there.

Animal Control Director Todd Moser said his department has only four employees and one of those has recently left the job and another is out on sick leave. He pointed out that calls for service, at night, all weekend and daily continue to increase, leaving him with employees oftentimes working 70 hour weeks.

County Administrator Jim Halasz had mentioned earlier to supervisors several options for improving conditions in the department.

Those suggestions included having a part-time employee to cover some of the week-end calls as well as the use of staggered work weeks and staggered hours of work.

He also suggested that veterinary offices be allowed to sell dog licenses and possibly selling multi-year licenses between one and three years to run concurrently with the animal’s rabies vaccine.

Halasz also recommended amendments to the county code which would allow for greater enforcement and more responsible pet ownership.

County Treasurer Linda Foster, who was present at the Wednesday meeting, said she was opposed to having licenses sold by veterinarians because she feared she would not get information about the sales in a timely manner.

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Comments

YES YES YES, do away with these outmoded offices that would save money, now if the BOS could say that we will reduce fees when this is done I think county voters would go for it.

Comments

Too much control is being given to BOS who are doing a poor job of running this county. And managing tax payers dollars. Mr bowman and mrs Jackson need think about the people. Things like the visitors center should have never existed. This brings no money in county but eats it up instead. Elected officials lets the people speak by vote. This right would be given up.

Comments

From what I hear, the Treasurer isn't doing her job. Too many delinquent taxes and not enough collecting. When is another sale?? When is the delinquent list going to be on the website?? Look at that list and names on it. People on it I know work and got money. Why make small landowner have to suffer bc these big bills unpaid. Treasurer don't have anyone to check on her. She does as she pleases. If I gotta pay my taxes, everyone else should too.

Comments

The BOS know nothing about their jobs, pointing fingers at countywide elected officials, really. Larry G. was fired from his last job and now supervising a district in a county, really. Bowman has had his ax to grind because he wants to be the dictator of the county. Getting rid of these elected officials will nowhere come close to balancing the budget of this area. This county is in a death spiral.


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