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Commissioners wants 'due diligence' of schools' budget request

The Lee County commissioners will discuss Monday the documentation they want from the Lee County School District when budget considerations are underway.

“I’m asking the board to request very specific items that we need from the superintendent to evaluate the amount the county will contribute,” Carver said Thursday.

Both boards are in the planning stages for budgets in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Carver’s motion asks the commissioners to consider a motion requiring Lee County School Superintendent Andy Bryan to provide certain documentation when the school district’s budget request is presented in May.

It includes:

• A year-to-date financial statement documenting all sources of funding and a line-by-line breakdown of spending.

That includes federal money received by the district including COVID-19 relief funds and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, money that is designed to help schools deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The district has until 2023 to use the money and Bryan will be asked to provide a project budget of expenditures until then.

• The projected 2021-22 budget showing all sources of income and anticipated expenditures by purpose, function and line-item; and

• A consolidated budget document for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

“This is not because we feel there’s a problem, but it falls in the area of due diligence,” Carver said. “How does a board make a decision on how much of a subsidy goes to the schools?”

The items included in the motion are basic numbers that are maintained by finance officers, he said.

“Somebody might think this is something unusual and we’re trying to do is due diligence,” Carver said. “If we’re doing our job right, we need to know what’s happening in the organization.”

The school district’s budget includes some expenses that are mandated and some that aren’t, Carver said.

“There are choices to be made. How do you decide what a good number is if you don’t know where to start?”

The county provided the schools with $20.2 million for FY 2020-21, the same amount as the year before.

In a message on the Lee County Schools website, Bryan said the budget request for 2021-22 is $1.475 million more than was received last year.

Monday’s meeting will be at the McSwain Agricultural Building beginning at 6 p.m.

Sanford Farmers Market seeks manager

The Lee County Cooperative Extension is hiring a part-time market manager for the Sanford Farmers Market.

The manager will help operate the weekly farmers market, which is held from 8 a.m.-noon each Saturday starting April 24 through Nov. 13.

Applicants should be “enthusiastic advocate(s) of the local food movement and NC agriculture,” the job description stated. Candidates should also have a valid driver’s license, reliable means of transportation and the ability to work Saturday mornings.

Responsibilities of the manager include: maintaining required documentation for the market, processing vendor applications, maintaining vendor records, verifying vendors comply with market requirements, enforcing market rules, managing market finances, updating social media and working to expand the market.

The manager will be paid $100 on each market day. To apply, send a cover letter, resume and two references to bill_stone@ncsu.edu by April 9.

NCDOT funds Moore and Harnett county airport improvements

State and federal funding was approved last month for improvement projects at 10 North Carolina airports, including two in Harnett and Moore counties.

The N.C. Board of Transportation allocated $12.75 million for the projects, which will “help the airports increase capacity, attract new jobs and businesses to their communities, and improve safety for pilots and passengers,” according to a news release.

At Moore County Airport in Carthage, $1.66 million was allocated for an upgrade of the airfield lighting system to full-LED lighting and improvements to its signage, “which had begun to fade with age,” the release stated. The lighting upgrade will reduce operational costs, according to airport manager Scotty Malta.

Malta said in the release that the airport needs to keep up with the region’s growth as the United States Golf Association moves their headquarters to the area and the U.S. Open Golf Tournament will be coming to Pinehurst on a regular basis.

The N.C. Board of Transportation also approved $3 million for the construction of an aircraft apron at Harnett Regional Jetport in Lillington.

The remaining funding will go to Asheboro Regional Airport, Elizabeth City Regional Airport, Laurinburg-Maxton Airport, Shelby-Cleveland County Regional Airport, Tri-County Airport near Ahoskie, and the Wayne Executive Jetport near Goldsboro.