JCC asks county for more money

pseligson@newsobserver.comJune 6, 2014 

At their first budget meeting on Monday, Johnston County Commissioners heard from three groups seeking taxpayer support.

Commissioners will likely vote on their 2014-15 spending plan at month’s end. In the meantime, they’re hearing from groups seeking tax dollars. On Monday, they heard from Johnston Community College, the N.C. Forest Service and a Clayton group that is trying to build a playground for children with special needs.

JCC

JCC President David Johnson asked for an additional $265,000 for campus security, phones and pay raises.

Johnson had originally sought $390,000 more than the $4.2 million JCC received this budget year from county taxpayers. But already, County Manager Rick Hester has promised Johnson the $125,000 he was seeking for parking.

“When we prepare a budget for you, we prepare a budget that we need,” Johnson said. “There is no fluff in that budget.”

As for the rest of the additional money JCC is seeking:

•  $153,000 would replace an aging phone system.

•  $68,000 would allow the college to have armed security year-round instead of nine to 10 months.

•  $45,000 would allow JCC to provide raises of 1.2 to 1.5 percent for college employees paid with local dollars. That assumes the General Assembly awards pay raises to college employees paid with state dollars. If that doesn’t happen, Johnson said he would use the $45,000 to add someone to the college’s maintenance staff.

Forest Service

County Ranger Mike Winslow asked for $107,000 instead of the $95,000 recommended by Hester.

Both the county and state fund the Forest Service under a matching formula. Winslow said the $95,000 recommended by Hester would yield $142,000 from the state. But Winslow said he needs $161,000 from the state, so he’s seeking $107,00 from the county.

The additional county and state dollars, Winslow said, would replace a 2006 Ford F-250 and cover increased costs for employee health insurance and retirement contributions.

Clayton Universal Playground

Yvonne Futtere told the board about plans for a “universal playground” in Clayton. The playground would have swings and structures for kids with special needs, such as children in wheelchairs.

A group made up of citizens, business leaders and town government plans to build the playground in East Clayton Community Park on Glen Laurel Road. Earlier this year, commissioners pledged $100,000 to similar effort in Smithfield.

Futtere said her group expects the Clayton park to cost about $400,000. She didn’t ask commissioners for money on Monday but expects to do so later this year after the group sees how much money it can raise from private sources.

“For many Johnston County families, this will be the first time for them to play together,” she said of families with special-needs children.

Next budget meeting

The next budget meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, June 9, in the commissioners’ chambers in the courthouse in Smithfield.

Seligson: 919-836-5768

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