Budget Commission oversees educational millage

By Dean Wright - deanwright@aimmediamidwest.com

GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Budget Commission met in the Gallia Courthouse Wednesday morning to discuss with area educational institutions whether they were receiving the appropriate millage for their given organizations.

“The budget commission is the hurdle that the tax spender has to get over to get into the taxpayer’s pocket,” said Richard Hoffman, commission technical advisor. “When I talk to taxpayers, I’ll drill that home. What happens, the schools have to come into the budget commission and show why they need the money…Basically, let’s say we’ve got 20 mills to operate. They’ve got to show they need those 20 mills and that’s what we do. It’s also unofficially, especially with the townships, a chance to connect with the county and you get a lot of questions you might not have gotten…It’s a lot of accounting issues and it’s the (county, schools and townships) working together for the citizens.”

The commission also works with other political subdivisions when it comes to budget spending, with another such commission meeting anticipated later in the year.

Chief Deputy of the Gallia Auditor’s Office Terry Short, Gallia Auditor Larry Betz, Hoffman, Gallia Assistant Prosecutors Jeremy Fisher and Randy Dupree along with Gallia Treasurer Steve McGhee were present as part of the commission.

Gallia County School Districts Treasurer Julia Slone was the first to meet with the commission with Superintendent Jude Meyers calling into the meeting over speaker. Among topics discussed included the potential desire of the school to see new modules added to school properties to account for more room needed to class students along with the potential of moving fifth grade classes to the River Valley Middle Schools considering what would be most cost effective.

The commission approved the district’s general inside millage at 2.55, permanent improvement at one mill, debt service at .35 mills and bond at 7.4 mills for a current expense voted at 17.45 for a total of 28.75 mills.

Gallia-Jackson-Vinton Joint Vocational School District representatives Kent Lewis and Treasurer Stephanie Rife were present to discuss Buckeye Hills Career Center’s advancements in robotics technology and how they feel it will be beneficial to the area’s industrial development.

“We’re going by a motto that if you build it, they will come,” said Lewis of businesses.

The commission set the mills for the Gallia-Jackson-Vinton Joint Vocational School at 2 mills as currently voted.

Gallipolis City Schools District Treasurer Beth Vollborn approached the commission next. The group discussed the district’s ongoing efforts to overcome financial challenges. The commission set the rate for the district at 3.80 mills as general inside millage, 27.20 mills for current expense voted, 7.2 mills bond and 1.5 mills for permanent improvement for a total of 39.7 mills.

Rio Grande Community College’s Fiscal Officer Kent Haley approached the commissioner last. The commission discussed ongoing recruitment initiatives and the loss of the college’s proposed levy in the previous election. Ultimately, the commission approved college funding at one mill for its current continuing levy.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright