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Section A: General News


New administrator works to clean up China Grove books


New administrator works to clean up China Grove books
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR. — China Grove City Secretary/Administrator Susan Conaway (second from right) leads an Aug. 20 budget workshop with the mayor and city council.


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Wilson County News
August 27, 2014
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CHINA GROVE -- With an extended fiscal year drawing to a close and a new one set to start Oct. 1, newly minted City Secretary/Administrator Susan Conaway is working to clean up the financial books. Conaway led a budget workshop with the China Grove City Council Aug. 20.

Earlier this year, the council had voted to add four months to the fiscal year, so that it would end Sept. 30 like most other municipalities statewide. Conaway said that while they passed an ordinance, she was unable to locate an actual extended budget.

As a result, Conaway said she had to pull together information from various sources, in order to cobble together China Grove’s financial picture. According to the spreadsheet used in her presentation, the city is on pace to finish the current fiscal year with an estimated $469,370 in income versus actual expenses of $562,172 -- a deficit of $92,802.

In addition to the finances, Conaway said turnover in city staff has taken its toll. Specifically, the police department has yet to file a state-mandated racial profiling report for the current year, and last year’s report is missing. The state Attorney General’s Office also is demanding that the department submit an asset-forfeiture report.

The council left with the understanding that it soon would meet to discuss the fiscal year 2015 budget. As of press time, that workshop had not been scheduled.

ESD

On Aug. 19, however, the council held a special meeting related to the proposed creation of Bexar County Emergency Services District (ESD) No. 9. Chief Mike Winfield of the China Grove Volunteer Fire Department said after the meeting that the council agreed unanimously to lend its support to the proposal, meaning that the city would be part of the ESD if voters approve its creation in May 2015.

The council, each year, allocates $10,000 to $15,000 toward the department’s operations. However, the incorporated city only makes up a small portion of the department’s overall service area. Bexar County gives an additional $20,000-per-year stipend, which Winfield said could end due to continued budget constraints.

The ESD, if approved, would levy an ad valorem tax -- not to exceed 10 cents per $100 of taxable property value -- to fund fire-protection services for the areas currently served by Harmony, Lone Oak, and China Grove volunteer fire departments in eastern Bexar County. Winfield said this would ensure all residents would contribute financially toward their firefighting services. (See “China Grove, Harmony, Lone Oak consider ESD,” July 16.)





 

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