Highlights of Meeting on May 16, 2016
Mike Buckel, gave a brief synopsis of Hart County School Board activities:
a. Tentative budget for fiscal year 2017 which begins July 01;
b. Current cash reserve is $13 million; they are operating 14% under budget.
c. Asking for a local tax increase of $1 million, from 12 ½ to 13 ½ million dollars.
d. State of GA is increasing their funding by nearly an extra million to a total of $16.7 million;
e. Total budget is $31.7 million; current spending is $20,000,000. on the wellness/gym center; $2.5 million on the AG Center, plus additional costs for upgrades such as the turf, and new scoreboards.
The tentative budget includes an increase in sports supplemental pay and nearly $95,000.00 for an athletic director.
Mike noted our Hart County School board has a “rainy day fund” to operate the school system for 6 months which is a significant contrast to the City of Atlanta which has a 30 day supplemental operating fund.
He also advised the Corps of Engineers is no longer issuing new permits for personal irrigation. Current permits holders will be “grandfathered in.” This development has been brought to Rep. Doug Collins’ attention to address.
Mr. Bill Chafin, Hartwell Housing Authority Chairman, familiarized everyone with subsidized housing in Hartwell and their operating guidelines.
Bill advised they are an independent body operating public housing under authority by the Board of Commissioners per federal and state guidelines. Now, Policy must be approved by the U.S. government. The Housing Board is comprised of 5 volunteer members who serve 5 year terms supervising 174 units. Residents are charged rent based on their annual income. Rent fees are reduced by certain age, disability, unusual medical complications, major medical bills and children. They primarily serve low income, elderly and disabled in agreement with the City of Hartwell.
A lively discussion ensued with Mr. Chafin answering many topics such as: Payment policies, maintenance and security of housing units, tenant complaints, tenant privately owned vehicle policy, and defining of tenant income for reduced rent. He concluded, saying the hardest thing about following the operating regulations is that they do not include one word about “compassion.” Regulations must be followed without exception.