Schools, sheriff need more money in coming year

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 26, 2014 - 01:57 PM

The Mathews County Board of Supervisors is going to be dealing with budget issues over the next few months, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Holleran and Sheriff Mark Barrick let the board know Tuesday that they’re will need more money in the upcoming fiscal year.

Holleran told supervisors that, because of an increase in required Virginia Retirement System payments and declining enrollment, the school system is expected to need nearly $200,000 more from the county just to break even next year.

Enrollment at the beginning of the school year was 1,168 students, he explained, but that number has dropped to 1,130 and “we’re pinching pennies to get through this school year.”

The budget numbers aren’t final yet, said Holleran, as they’re dependent on legislation pending before the General Assembly.

In addition, he said, the school board is asking that the county fund a 2 percent plus step across-the-board salary increase for school employees. This could require an additional $250,000-$300,000 county contribution, he said.

Holleran said the school board will meet next Tuesday to “take a crack at the budget.”

Sheriff’s office

Barrick reminded the board that several months ago he had expressed concerns about inadequate radio coverage in the county for public safety personnel. At that time, he told the board that two extra repeaters were needed—one each in Cobbs Creek and Susan.

After that meeting, he said he applied for and received a grant that would pay for three digital repeaters, three new consoles in the dispatch office, two consolettes to make the system interoperable with the Virginia State Police and Gloucester Sheriff’s Office, 30 portable hand-held radios for officers, and 20 mobile radios for vehicles.

The grant was from a fund set up by the Virginia Attorney General’s office from money recovered in a fraud case, and Barrick said he was careful to make sure his application was law enforcement-oriented, but that he had hoped the system would help solve similar problems for the county’s fire and rescue services.