The Patrick County Board of Supervisors will consider approval of the spending plan for the upcoming year at its June 12 meeting. The budget for the new fiscal year will go into effect on July 1.
Kurt Bozenmayer addressed the board about providing more access to the budget and its planning process.
“It is obvious that the Board of Supervisors and the county administration have expended a significant amount of time and effort in working on the current budget. I would like to thank the Finance Department for ensuring that the recent budget documents are posted on the county website along with recent audit reports,” he said.
However, Bozenmayer said it becomes financially difficult for the average county resident to print out the entire budget due to the cost of paper and printing ink.
“For senior citizens with small laptop computers and declining visual acuity, it becomes a challenge to read this information online. For the budget years 2021 to 2024, the Finance Department shows 16 documents listed on the website, representing hundreds of pages of material,” he said.
Bozenmayer said he believes a lot of that material would interest many of the county’s taxpayers if it were easier for them to access.
Bozenmayer noted that he and Blue Ridge Regional Library Patrick County branch manager Garry Clifton recently approached the county’s Finance Officer Lori Jones to request the most recent budget be available in print form for ease of public access.
“I would like to expand that request to include the budget documents and audit reports for the last three years,” he said.
From recent discussions with several meeting attendees, Bozenmayer said there is an increasing interest in the budget process, especially at the taxpayer level.
“I hope the supervisors will support this effort to improve access to the budget process,” he said.
Clyde DeLoach, of the Blue Ridge District, asked if the board could do what Bozenmayer suggested and place copies of the budget at the library and the Patrick County Administration Building.
“No, we do get a handful of copies of the audits from the auditors, and I can put the three years at the library,” Jones said.
Denise Stirewalt, of the Peters Creek District, said the county has always had a copy of the budget in the administration building lobby area for public viewing.
Assistant County Administrator and Human Resources Director Donna Shough said the county stopped doing that a few years ago because nobody ever looked at it.
“At the library, we also stopped it because it was a tremendous amount we’d have to gather, and they told me no one ever asked to look at it. So, we did stop it,” she said.
Doug Perry, of the Smith River District, said he’d prefer a copy of the budget and audit to be at the library as it’s “more accessible to the public.”
The board also discussed changes to the county’s budget.