Supervisors amend budget out of fairness

Published 10:33 am Friday, February 5, 2016

A recent decision by the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors will change the amount of money each district receives to better reflect the number of roads and bridges each one has.

In previous years, road and bridge funds have been dispersed to the different districts with 16 percent to District 1 and 21 percent to each other district.

“All of the districts have different mileage and some of us were running real low on funds and some were getting too much, is what it amounted to,” said District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown. “If you look by the old figures, the mileage was so unbalanced. We decided to amend the budget.”

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The board voted to 4-1 to instead have the percentage of money match the percentage of road miles each district has within the county. District 1 Supervisor Rev. Jerry Wilson was opposed.

“I wouldn’t be in agreement if I was giving up money either, but it was the right thing,” Brown said, adding that he understood Wilson’s hesitance. “Everybody gets equal money per mile of road in the district, each one is represented by equal money. Each taxpayer’s mile is worth the same.”

According to county documents, District 1 has 105 of the county’s 1,037.4 miles, or 10.1 percent. District 1’s percentage of the funds will now reflect that, ensuring that district receives $275,417 — a difference of $159,945, or 36.7 percent less than its previous budget. District 2, having 218.6 of the county’s 1,037.4 miles, will receive 21.1 percent. District 3, having 266.9 of the county’s 1,037.4 miles, will receive 25.7 percent. District 4 has 232.8 of the county’s 1,037.4 miles, or 22.4 percent, and District 5, with 214.1 of the county’s 1,037.4 miles, will receive 20.6 percent.

District 1 is affected most, with approximately $160,000 less in funds than usual. District 5 will receive $9,825 less, District 2 will receive $1,979 more, District 3 will receive $128,671 more and District 4 will receive $39,121 more towards roads and bridges.

Wilson was not immediately available for comment on whether this change would affect his district’s county employees. County Manager David Fields said hypothetically, county employees may transfer among the districts if the supervisors of those districts work it out. Fields said the move was made by the board in the name of responsible spending by having the actual mileage in each district determine the dispersement. The way it has been worked out now, each district gets equal money per mile in their district.

“The prices of gas and oil have affected severance tax, we’ve lost so much from those decreases,” Brown said. “We’ve lost so much but this helps one part of it.”