GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guilford County board of commissioners' Thursday night meeting is loaded, but none more important than the county’s budget. The biggest entities of the budget are schools, sheriff's office and the animal shelter, but is there enough money fully fund their wish list? According to the recommended budget, 49.8 percent of funding could go to education.
Guilford County is hoping to adopt its $627,418,000 million recommended budget during the meeting. That budget will go to several of the county’s divisions and services.
Here's a breakdown:
Guilford County Schools’ recommended budget is $212,726,926 million dollars, which the county says is a $4.1 million increase from last year’s adopted budget. The county’s proposed budget offers $206,610,398 instead, $6 million less than GCS requests.
Back in April, GCS released its proposed operating budget setting county revenue sources at $215,913,822. According to GCS, the $10 million increase will go to the district’s local teacher supplements, salary increases for GCS personnel, especially teachers and bus drivers.
Nearly 100 community and business leaders signed a petition for county commissioners to fully fund GCS’s requested operating budget with the $10 million increase, including HAECO and Cone Health CEOs.
The Sheriff’s office will learn if they can get $189,000 in requested funding for the same program from the county, in addition to seven new school resource officer vehicles, and three position reclassifications.
Back in May, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office requested using revenue generated from inmates to fund its reentry program to assist inmates upon their release.
The Guilford County Animal Shelter will request $649,000 dollars out of its already funded shelter replacement project budget. The cost is to cover additional architecture and design services from PNP Design Group, the group planning and designing a new animal shelter.
Last October, county commissioners allocated close to $15 million for the new shelter. On Monday, Jorge Ortega, Guilford County Animal Shelter director, spoke to commissioners in a work session meeting to discuss updates on the new shelter.
Ortega says the size of the new building was recently adjusted by planners, so that it fits both the needs and the allocated budget for the shelter. The initial design had a 407-animal capacity, while the latest design reduces the capacity to 335. The shelter’s current West Wendover Avenue location has a 620 capacity.
“We presented a certain-sized facility with a certain size of animal holding capacity at that time,” Ortega said. “Today, if we were going to go build that shelter, we would not be able to meet that size facility based on the amount of money that’s been budgeted by the commissioners.”
Ortega acknowledged the disappointment from many community members after reports about the change is design and holding capacity compared to the original design and current shelter. In response, he pointed out the importance of reducing animal intake through spay and neuter, microchipping, fostering and responsible adoption because the higher the number of animals in holding, the less attention and care they’re able to give each animal.
“Our facility, even though it’s licensed to house 620 animals, we should not wait to get to 620,” Ortega explained. “What we need to focus on as a community is keeping the animals from coming into the shelter.”
Ortega added he believes the new facility will attract more visitors and volunteers.
“Our building has to be a destination,” he said. “If we don’t increase our visitors, we won’t increase our adoptions or our positive outcomes.”
According to Ortega, the design is halfway completed, and explained that there are still many adjustments that could be made, so this design and size is not set in stone